UW • SCAND 280 • Ibsen and His Major Plays in English
Professor: Olivia Gunn • Spring 2016
Meets: Monday and Wednesday, M/W, 12:30-2:20 in SIG 228
Office hours: By appointment
"I cannot think of any other Western dramatist of true magnitude who is as consistently weird as Ibsen."
(Harold Bloom, The Western Canon)
In this course, we read and discuss works by Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906), the father of modern drama and the second most performed playwright in the world, after Shakespeare. Who was Ibsen; how did he innovate and change our world; and how is he performed today?
- Ibsen on the world stage: A Doll House
- Realist masterpieces?: The Wild Duck and Hedda Gabler
- The master in the making: Brand and Peer Gynt
- The limits of mastery (or, portraits of the artist as an old man): John Gabriel Borkman and When We Dead Awaken
Students will learn about Ibsen’s life, authorship, and place in the modern canon and on the world stage: 15%
Students will learn about specific dramas and poems by Henrik Ibsen: 55%
Students will develop their abilities to analyze texts orally and in writing: 30%
Writing (W) credit is an option.
- Ibsen: Four Major Plays, Volume I. Trans. Fjelde. ISBN 978-0-451-53022-6
- Ibsen: Four Major Plays, Volume II. Trans. Fjelde. ISBN 978-0-451-52803-2
- Brand. Hill, Penguin Classics. ISBN 978-0140446760
- Peer Gynt. Trans. Fry and Fillinger. ISBN 978-0199555536
- Ibsen in Practice. Frode Helland. ISBN 978-1472513694
- Supplementary readings will be provided as PDFs (Elinor Fuch’s “Visit to a Small Planet: Some Questions to ask a Play,” poems by Henrik Ibsen, and other excerpts from criticism)
Grading and Assignments
Come to class, with readings completed and in hand, ready to discuss the material and ask questions. Absent members of the class can have a negative impact on the experience and learning of other students. Office visits can count towards your participation grade. My office is an LGBTQ safe space.
Observation and analysis papers: 40% (20% each)
Two observation papers (3-5 pages, double-spaced) are due in weeks four and nine.
Part One: Choose questions and/or tasks from Fuch’s “Visit to a Small Plant” and use them as a means of exploring one play. The goal in this part of the paper is to read closely and observe without judgment and with limited interpretation. The chosen questions or tasks must be clearly stated. Evidence for your answers must be provided by means of description and quotation/citation. Less is more: whenever possible, choose fewer questions and answer them with greater detail and precision.
Part Two: Consider, interpret, and respond to what you have observed, in conversation with course discussions, lectures, readings, and viewings.
Extra credit response (optional): up to 10%. If you choose, you can hand in a third observation paper no later than May 11th.
Research project: 30%
For your final assignment, you will find two or more peer-reviewed articles or book chapters that focus on one of the assigned plays. You will then create an extended annotated bibliography (4-8 pages, double-spaced), evaluating the sources (authority, argument, evidence, method, interest), comparing and contrasting their aims and interests with your own understanding of the play, and proposing further research questions.
Research presentation: 10%
Research findings will be presented to the class (circa 10 minutes). What articles/chapters have you found? What arguments/interesting claims and facts do they contain? Provide a handout to aid discussion. Share key quotes and research questions/ideas.
Policies and Procedures
Assignments must be typed and follow MLA guidelines. For help with and examples of MLA style, visit Purdue’s online writing lab, OWL: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/
If you need further guidance with MLA formatting or other issues, come to see me during office hours.
ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: Cheating and plagiarism include, but are not limited to:
- Copying the work of others or allowing others to do your work;
- Directly quoting the words of others without using quotation marks, indented format, and in-text citations to identify them; or
- Using sources (published or unpublished) without identifying them; or
- Paraphrasing materials or borrowing the ideas of others without identifying the sources.
Plagiarizing, or copying and/or using the words or ideas of others without proper acknowledgement, undermines your learning, devalues the degree that you are seeking, and will result in failure of the assignment. Acknowledge and/or cite every single source that you consider when producing assignments! Over-citing is better than under-citing. If you need help understanding and avoiding plagiarism, come talk to me.
Late assignments will NOT be accepted (except in cases of emergency or illness, to be considered on a case by case basis).
Please practice professionalism. You are more than welcome to email me with well-considered questions. Do not use mobile phones or laptops in class, as it distracts me and other students. In some cases, it can detract from your own learning. See, for example, “Better Learning through Handwriting” (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110119095458.htm) or “A Learning Secret: Don’t take notes with a laptop” (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-learning-secret-don-t-take-notes-with-a-laptop/)
"I cannot think of any other Western dramatist of true magnitude who is as consistently weird as Ibsen." Harold Bloom, The Western Canon
Find out just how weird Henrik Ibsen can be!
SCAND 280, Ibsen and His Major Plays in English (VLPA and W)
MW 12:30 - 2:20 (SIG 228)
In this course, we read and discuss works by Henrik Ibsen, the father of modern drama and the second most performed playwright in the world, after Shakespeare. Who was Ibsen; how did he innovate and change our world; and how is he performed today, locally and all over the globe?