Yesterday was kind of a fragmented day. I got a little bit of work on the fictionalizing Ibsen paper done in the morning, and I started reading Atle Næss’ Sensommer. But I also really wanted to make sure I got a chance to see Jens Lien and Nikolaj Frobenius’ film adaptation of Frobenius’ Teori og praksis, so I took the ferry into Oslo to catch a matinee (along with four teenagers skipping class, apparently). The film, Sønner av Norge, is pretty weak in a lot of ways, but I do think there are a few things I can say about it that I can add to my article on Teori og praksis. I’m always intrigued when an author remediates/adapts his or her own work to a different medium (Ibsen did that with Peer Gynt, of course). In a way, you could almost say that Frobenius is responding to his critics by changing the focus of the narrative from social critique to a portrait of a relationship between a son and a father in crisis. There were a few critics who mentioned that this was the most compelling aspect of the novel, and this is totally what the film is about. I happen to disagree, which is why I think the film isn’t nearly as interesting. It was fun though to hear all that old punk music. It sounded amazingly tame and melodious, considering how it was received and what it stood for at the time…
In the evening I picked up my copy of Ivo de Figueiredo’s Henrik Ibsen. Masken (2007), which I’ve actually never read cover-to-cover. I figured if I’m looking at fictionalizations of Ibsen’s life I should really familiarize myself with the academic consensus (and disagreements) over the facts. Figueiredo lists the following biographies as the main core of this consensus:
Henrik Jæger. Henrik Ibsen 1828-1888. Et litterært livsbillede (1888)
Halvdan Koht. Henrik Ibsen. Eit diktarliv (1954)
Michael Meyer. Henrik Ibsen: A Biography (1967)
Robert Ferguson Henrik Ibsen: A New Biography (1996)
Of course Ibsen.net is way ahead of me, and has a nice annotated summary of the eight major Ibsen biographies that make up what they call the “canon” for information about Ibsen.