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Ibsen's Drama: Right Action and Tragic Joy argues that in his late plays Ibsen struggled with, and finally repudiated the Aristotelian ideas of reality and change that held sway over the earlier part of his career, and more generally over nineteenth century drama and culture. The first chapter analyzes Aristotle's Poetics, which centers on the classical relation of catharsis, rational agency, and intelligible change in human affairs. The second chapter presents Nietzsche's transformation of those topics into a modernist poetics and a modernist agenda for living. The rest of the book analyzes Ghosts, Rosmersholm, and The Master Builder , and relates Ibsen's formal, intellectual, and cultural innovations in these plays to Nietzsche's assault on the Aristotelian humanism that Victorian Europe valued so highly. Through his Nietzschean subversion of the popular forms of Victorian theatre - melodrama, problem, play, Magdalene play, professional intrigue, and remarriage plot - and the culture they represent, Ibsen struggled messianically to reveal how life could pass, heroically, from right action to tragic joy.
Preface Action in Aristotle Reality and Change Poetics Action in Nietzsche Reality and Change Nietzschean Poetics Ghosts: The Sick Will Rosmersholm: Managing the Past The Master Builder: Act One The Master Builder: Act Two The Master Builder: Act Three Afterword Bibliography
'...a bright new addition to the major critical works on Ibsen...Ibsen's Drama demands engagement and very careful attention...' - Essays in Theatre '...This is the best book on Ibsen I have read in years...' - Brian Johnston, Comparative Drama 'Theoharis's effective, compact study in intellectual history connects persuasively with detailed commentary on the theatrical vitality of three of Ibsen's greatest plays...Recommended...' - Choice
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