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Henrik Ibsen

Robert Ferguson
Date Published
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First published in 1996, Robert Ferguson’s controversial Henrik Ibsen: A New Biography is perhaps the most irreverent and critical of all the Ibsen biographies. Ferguson provides insight into Ibsen’s personal life, his creative work, and the world in which he lived. He paints the portrait of a complex, emotionally tormented artist – not one who is necessarily likable, but one whom we can understand and appreciate.

Using previously unavailable material, including a letter in which Ibsen admits paternity of his illegitimate son, Ferguson chips through the hard enamel of Ibsen’s public reputation. He details many of Ibsen’s private traumas, such as how his inability to pay for the child’s support very nearly landed him in jail, and shows the real impact of these experiences on Ibsen’s growth, both as a man and as a playwright. The book clearly demonstrates that Ibsen was one of the great therapeutic artists.

Henrik Ibsen: A New Biography is a deeply researched, wide-ranging account of the man often called the founder of modern drama. At the time of its publication it polarised the critics and stirred up a great deal of debate. Essential reading for anyone interested in Ibsen and in the development of the modern theatre.


Robert Ferguson was born in Blackpool in 1948. After completing Norwegian studies at University College in London, he took up a state scholarship in Norway in1983, and has since then lived in Oslo. Ferguson is an award-winning dramatist and has translated and adapted several of Ibsen’s plays for the BBC. Apart from Henrik Ibsen: A New Biography he is also…

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