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European Journal of Scandinavian Studies

Ed. by Böldl, Klaus / Rühling, Lutz / van der Liet, Henk

2 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 0.02

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.100
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.188

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Sig selv at døde – Subjektet i Henrik Ibsens Brand (1866) og Peer Gynt (1867)

Andreas Gisle Lombnæs
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  • Department of Nordic and Media Studies, University of Agder, Service box 422, NO-4604 Kristiansand, Norway
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Published Online: 2013-10-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ejss-2013-0008


Peer Gynt is usually considered to be Brand in negative, a modern subject without kernel and coherence in contrast to Brand’s God-given substantial identity. Treating the two dramatic poems as a diptych the present essay takes the two men to struggle with the same predicament. The first driven by a misunderstood longing for wholeness, the second by fear of diversity, they represent opposed reactions to modernity. Brand has to lose his confidence and monolithic will, while Peer has to realize the emptiness of his lust and vanity. To be a self is neither to be the passive tool of Law and conventions nor the sovereign author of one’s own actions, it is to engage in imaginative anticipation, a leap that may as well end in madness. In both plays the protagonists actually attain the position of autonomous subject, though they do not live to realize it in practical life. This may be due to an inherent paradox of human existence, or it may be a way to expose the subject as the ‘interface’ of the individual’s old life, and the new one, the disjunction of ‘no longer’ and ‘not yet’. In this sense Ibsen’s plays all end unresolved as an appeal to the spectators’ liberty.

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Published Online: 2013-10-09

Published in Print: 2013-10-01

Citation Information: European Journal of Scandinavian Studies, Volume 43, Issue 2, Pages 135–162, ISSN (Online) 2191-9402, ISSN (Print) 2191-9399, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ejss-2013-0008.

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