From “The Great Question Mark” to “The Great Exclamation Mark”

  2006 was named “Year of Ibsen” by Norway. In order to commemorate the “father of modern theatre”, Norway spared no expense to build this commemorative event. 100 years ago, the Norwegian government held a grand state funeral for the literary giant. 100 years later, the “Year of Ibsen” is in full swing around the world.
  The Norwegian Ministry of Culture decided to carry out commemorative activities for the “Year of Ibsen” around the world and established an official website for this purpose to organize various activities to publicize and report the “Year of Ibsen”. The director of the 2006 “Ibsen Year” commemoration, Bentern Badsson, claimed that Norway will hold a wide range of activities at home and abroad throughout the year, including theater performances, film viewings, concerts, academic seminars, etc. The importance of Ibsen’s legacy and the opportunity to reinterpret Ibsen’s work. As an important part of the event, the Commemoration Committee plans that every day at least one Ibsen play will be performed on some stage around the world. The author searched on this website and found that there are more than 1,000 performances planned throughout the year, of which Ibsen’s “Social Issues Drama” is still the highlight and has been staged the most.
  Perhaps, we will marvel at the respect and memory of the Norwegian government for a literary master. Such a large-scale celebration is rare, and it speaks volumes about what Ibsen means to Norwegians, as well as his global influence. It may not be too much to use the “great exclamation mark” to describe the impact of Isaac on the people of the world.
  However, Ibsen’s plays have always been the focus of controversy, especially after his “plays on social issues” were translated and staged around the world, causing widespread discussion and criticism that lasted for more than a century, and Ibsen also contributed to the This has been viciously attacked and abused by opponents. For this reason, Lu Xun once said that Ibsen was a “great question mark”.
  Today, this “great question mark” has become a “great exclamation mark”, which has aroused widespread attention in intellectual and cultural circles around the world. On this occasion, let us take a look at how he changed from a “great question mark” to a “great exclamation mark”, and also to cherish the memory of this great dramatist who once had a great influence on Chinese literature.
  Was “The Great Question Mark”
  Henry Ibsen (1826-1906), a central figure in breakthroughs in European culture, is widely regarded as the father of modern theatre. His plays are of great practical significance and continue to be performed all over the world today. It is said that Ibsen is the most performed playwright in the world after Shakespeare. Ibsen published a total of 26 plays and a collection of poems in his lifetime, and his works are often divided into four parts: national romantic historical dramas such as “Catilyn”, “Aspirants of the Throne”, etc.; ideological dramas such as “Love Comedy” , “Brand”, etc.; social issue dramas such as “Social Pillar”, “A Doll’s House”, “Ghosts”, “Enemy of the People”; psychological and symbolic dramas “Wild Duck”, “Rosmore Village” and so on.
  The early acceptance of Ibsen in different countries of the world varies greatly. And because of the series of questions raised by its “social problem drama”, it touched the conservative nerve of the bourgeoisie. It is recorded that as early as 1878, in the same week in February, five theaters in Berlin alone staged The Pillars of Society simultaneously. In the 1870s, no fewer than six of Ibsen’s plays were translated into German, two of them, “Brand” and “Pillars of Society”, in three translations each, while only one play was translated in England ( And part of it), France has none. By 1890, Germany had published 27 different translations, and France had published two translations of the play. Ibsen arrived in England later, and Britain welcomed Ibsen much later than Germany. Take “A Doll’s House” as an example. On December 21, 1879, “Nara” held its world premiere at the Royal Theater in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, and achieved “unprecedented success”, with as many as 21 performances in the first season. But it also caused panic. In order to ensure the smooth progress of the banquet at home, many people had to hang a sign “Do not discuss “Nala” in front of the door, so as not to cause the banquet guests to disagree with the play. Controversy, there is a loss of harmony. In Britain, Nora was not officially staged until 1889, and it was boycotted and vilified by conservatives as soon as it was staged. The same situation occurred in France, the United States and Japan, so much so that theaters had to adapt the script to meet audience demands.
  Nora resurrected in China
  In China, Ibsen’s influence on modern Chinese literature is immeasurable. Famous writers during the May Fourth period were hardly unaffected by his influence. As Xiong Foxi said: “After the May Fourth Movement, Ibsen’s new thoughts on China, The influence of the new drama is very great, his influence on the Chinese literary and artistic circles is no less than that of Tolstoy and Gorky, especially for the drama circles. Be less influenced by him’.” Especially her famous work “A Doll’s House” (originally translated as “Nala”) was translated, published and staged in China, and Nora has become a synonym for women’s liberation and personality liberation, giving modern literature and even modern Civilization construction with far-reaching influence.
  From around the “May Fourth” period to the end of the 1940s, Ibsen’s plays had the most translations, most evaluations, and most performances in China, and the one that caused the most controversy was “A Doll’s House”. During the May Fourth period, “Nala” was staged everywhere. In 1924, “Nala”, which was performed by the Beijing 26th Opera Club at the Youth Association, was banned by the Beijing Police Department in the middle of the performance. The “Morning News Supplement” also published a letter from the audience, arguing that the banning of the play had touched the immoral nerves of the conservative forces. In 1925, the Drama Association performed in Shanghai. In 1928, on the 100th anniversary of Ibsen’s birth, Shanghai performed “Nala”. 1935 was called “Nara Year”. During this year, Nanjing Mofeng Opera Club, Jinan Folk Education Center, Shanghai Zhiren Yong Opera Club, Guanghua Opera Club, and Amateur Opera Artists Association all performed this play. There was even a sensational “Nara in Nanjing” incident, which triggered a follow-up discussion in the media and caused a lot of momentum at that time. In addition, there were performances by Ouyang Hongying in Chengdu in 1941, and performances by the Fudu Drama Society in Chongqing in 1948.
  In short, the continuous performance of “Nala” not only deepened Ibsen’s influence in China, but also accompanied the discussion and follow-up reports of the media before and after the performance of the play. Unprecedented impact. It is worth noting that during this period, studies and discussions on Ibsen’s thought and its dramatic art also began to appear, such as Yuan Zhenying’s Biography of Ibsen, Ibsen’s Philosophy, and Liu Dajie’s Ibsen Studies. , in today’s view, it is still a very important work, but its influence is not as profound and long-lasting as the play “Nala” and the image of “Nala”.
  Liu Siqian, in “Speaking of “Nara” – The Mind Journey of Modern Chinese Female Writers, believes that “the most far-reaching influence on the female writers of the ‘May 4th’ is the famous play “Nara” by Norwegian playwright Ibsen. In the ideological trend of the awakening of people and the awakening of women, the image of Nora can be said to be the prototype of modern Chinese women’s literature. Her running away from home constitutes the behavior of a whole generation, and her famous saying ‘First of all is a person , the same one as you’ has become a declaration of their spiritual awakening. Moreover, in terms of behavior and spiritual temperament, Nora’s influence far exceeds the ‘May Fourth’ generation. In a certain sense, it can be said that: modern Female writers are China’s ‘Nala’.”
  In fact, the influence of “Nala” in China is far more than that. The translation and introduction of Ibsen’s plays also strengthened the awareness of problems in the May Fourth period, and promoted the prosperity of “problem novels” and “problem dramas”. In addition to “Lifetime Events”, Xiong Foxi’s “Sorrow at the End of Youth”, Ouyang Yuqian’s “Shrew”, Guo Moruo’s “Zhuo Wenjun” and “Wang Zhaojun”, Chen Dabei’s “Ms. Youlan”, Bai Wei’s “Lin” Li”, etc., some of which can clearly show the influence of “Nara”. There are more problem novels. Almost all new novelists have written problem novels. Representative works of writers include Luo Jialun’s “Is it Love or Pain”, Ye Shaojun’s “Is This Also A Man?” “, “Zhuang Hong’s Sister”, “Going to the Country”, “Superman”, Wang Tongzhao’s “Meditation”, “Smile”, Lu Yin’s “Can You Sell Your Soul”, Xu Dishan’s “Bird of Life”, etc. these works

It involves social issues, family issues, ethical issues and psychological issues that people were concerned about during the May Fourth period. Poetry is no exception. Mr. Yu Pingbo’s “The Eagle Awakened” is touching and touching. Mr. Wen Yiduo said, “This poem is very similar to Ibsen’s “The House of Puppets.”
  Mr. Chen Pingyuan said that there is no other country in the world that can create so many Nora-type plays like China. After the Chinese welcomed Nora into their home, they made a new creation to resurrect and regenerate her in China. In 1925, Shen Yanbing wrote in “Talking about “: “Ibsen and the ‘New Culture Movement’ that has shaken the whole country in recent years in our country are a non-equal relationship; six or seven years ago, “New Culture Movement” “Youth” published the ‘Ibsen Special Issue’, which once regarded the great Nordic writer as a literary revolutionist, women’s liberation, resistance to traditional ideas… and so on a symbol of new movements. At that time, the name of Ibsen was lingering in the In the hearts of young people, what is told in the mouths of young people is no less than today’s Marx and Lenin.”
  Rome in the history of drama
  Some people say that Ibsen is the Rome in the history of drama. to Ibsen. Ibsen’s literary creation not only brought together the essence of the main drama creation in the 19th century, but also opened up a precedent for European and American modern drama. Ibsen’s dramatic literature not only has something in common with romanticism, realism, symbolism, but also expressionism, stream of consciousness literature, and absurdist drama. The famous Italian dramatist Pirandello said: “After Shakespeare, I did not hesitate to put Ibsen in the first place.” After his death, he had a strong influence on later generations; whether in terms of the richness of his creative themes, the depth of his thoughts, the sharpness of the issues involved, or his use of drama “discussion” skills. , known as the “father of modern drama”, he is well-deserved.
  The study of Ibsen, once became a prominent study. For more than a century, the amount of writings, the wide range of research, the different research methods, and the widely different reputations are rare in the history of modern world drama. In order to uniquely express the spirit and ideas of Ibsen’s plays, critics even coined a new term “Ibsenism”. The word appeared when Ibsen was alive, and it was mentioned by Blanchos in his book, and the famous English playwright Bernard Shaw also wrote a book “The Essence of Ibsenism”. The Irish modernist writer James Joyce not only regarded Ibsen as his “tutor”, but even went to learn Norwegian in order to read Ibsen’s original works. In China, during the May Fourth New Culture Movement, New Youth published a special issue of Ibsen to introduce Ibsen.
  Currently, the International Ibsen Reference Library contains more than 20,000 information records. The Ibsen Film Catalog contains a total of 56 films. It is worth mentioning that “A Doll’s House” has been brought to the screen 12 times, spanning from 1911 (United States) to 1933 (Iran). In recent years, “A Doll’s House” has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. This reflects the play’s importance in the world.
  Ibsen was not only a playwright, but also a poet, and his earlier plays were also poetic plays. His poetry writing continued throughout his life, focusing mainly on before 1875. Since then, he has almost abandoned poetry as a literary form. The Selected Poems of Ibsen were published in Copenhagen in 1871 and were republished seven times during Ibsen’s lifetime. Some commentators once said that there is one more great playwright in the world, but one less poet. It is a pity that his studies of poetry have not received as much attention as they have been of drama.
  As Bentern Badsson, director of the 2006 “Ibsen Year” commemoration, said, Ibsen was a strong advocate of individual freedom. But because his humanist ideals are so diverse, we cannot group his ideas under a single philosophical system. To borrow James Joyce’s analogy, what Ibsen did was reveal to us the path of finding individual freedom. He shook our lives, forcing life to reveal its secrets.
  The social contradictions that Ibsen presented to us more than a century ago are still alive and relevant to each of us, their significance undiminished. Even today, governments in some parts of the world still want to delete certain contents of Ibsen’s works and prohibit the performance of certain plays, believing that these contents and plays are too controversial and pose too great a threat to the existing system.
  In 2006, while we look forward to a wide range of events around the world, the Year of Ibsen will further highlight the playwright’s place in the history of world theatre. We can use Ibsen to reflect on our fundamental rights and values.

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