In a remarkable sequence of small square panel paintings, he has evoked the character, growth, disposition and appearance of the Norwegian playwright, the centenary of whose death is this year. The show of his work is on in the National Library. Queen Sonja of Norway opened the show on Tuesday and it is well worth a visit. There are some accompanying exhibits, showing the impact of the playwright in Ireland, notably on James Joyce, for whom Ibsen was certainly one of the key literary influences.
This is evident in his play, Exiles, which has just finished a reasonably successful run in London's National Theatre, at the Cottesloe. I met Ronan Wilmot at a performance there and he told me that he had directed Exiles in Berlin, in, I think, the Seventies. James Joyce's first published work was an essay entitled Ibsen's New Drama. It was not of course 'New Drama' at all, but it was for Joyce, and the publication it appeared in was the Fortnightly Review, edited by William Archer.
Ibsen wrote to Archer about the essay, asking that his thanks be passed on to its author. Joyce replied: "I am a young Irishman, years-old, and the words of Ibsen I shall keep in my heart all my life". It is hard to comprehend the giant scale of Ibsen's contribution, not just to drama, but to poetry as well, since he was recognised as a poetic dramatist.
What is less well known is the struggle he had with language and identity. When I consider the many writers who seek to revise, adapt, modify, modernise and change Ibsen, I wonder what languages they command? Do they realise that there was not only no Norwegian for Ibsen to write, there was no Norway either? Ibsen helped to fashion the language out of Danish, which in reality was the language he used. And he was a major figure in fashioning the Norwegian nation through his creation of it in dynamic examples of theatre that penetrate to the very heart of its people.
There were two Norwegian languages, one of them a throwback to Old Norwegian, or Norse, and influenced by Icelandic, the other a derivation from Danish that was modified over many years. Norway lost independence, and with it the focus of a court and government. It is often said that, in the intervening periods of dependency, Norwegian was Danish with a Swedish accent.
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On Ibsen - James Joyce - Google книги
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They were written many years after both Nonno and Nonna [i. Mr and Mrs Joyce] died and did not refer to them. Also destroyed were some postcards and one telegram from Samuel Beckett to Lucia. This was done at Sam's written request.
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