To the Third Empire

Ibsen’s Early Drama


Brian Johnston

Critical acclaim greeted Brian Johnston’s 1975 book on Ibsen’s final phase, The Ibsen Cycle. Choice called it “the single most provocative and critically exciting books of Ibsen criticism in decades.” Johnston now turns his attention to the early works, using the same thematic premise - that the plays follow a clear progression, influenced by the Hegalian aesthetic that pervaded Europe in the mid-nineteenth century. The result is an explanation of the early career that demonstrates both its unity and its essential relation to the realistic cycle that followed. In advancing his argument Johnston provides close readings of 10 plays, ranging from Cataline to Emperor and Galilean and including Brand and Peer Gynt. Scholars and students of drama, comparative literature, and Ibsen studies will find To the Third Empire an essential work.

Brian Johnston is Professor Emeritus of Dramatic Arts at Carnegie Mellon University.

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