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Ibsen’s Peer Gynt and the production of meaning

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Few texts have been put to use so actively and in so many ways in the production of identity and meaning as Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt (1867). This book studies the popular reception of Peer Gynt in Norway writ large, exploring how processes of adaptation and parody contribute to the canonization of the text. With remarkable frequency Peer Gynt is activated in public discourse as a tool for understanding contemporary Norwegian society, as a touchstone for confirming cultural identity, or even as a sort of prophetic code. The book demonstrates the breadth and depth of cultural, intellectual and aesthetic engagement with and reception of Ibsen’s dramatic poem in Norway, identifying some of the assumptions and premises that underpin the construction of Norwegian identity based upon the (constantly shifting) foundation of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt. Ellen Rees is Associate Professor at the University of Oslo’s Centre for Ibsen Studies. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Seattle

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