While I can’t really claim to have made any concrete progress on the Næss/Dahl article (at least not in terms of writing), I still feel like this was a productive day in terms of conceptualizing the project. First I read two articles that touch–at least tangentially–on the problem of “staging” Ibsen. The first was Marvin Carlson’s “Performing the Self” (which has to do with intersections between autobiographical performance art and theater) and Ayanna Thompson’s “Rewriting the ‘Real’: Popular Shakespeare in the 1990s,” which was super relevant and thought-provoking. She writes about “Bardology” and how it fits into a larger anxiety about Western Civilization. I think the dynamic with Ibsen is quite different (he seems in the context I’m examining to be a specifically national symbol with a distinct set of national anxieties linked to him rather than a universal symbol), but her discussion of the film Shakespeare in Love really got me thinking. To top it off, I then had a meeting with a scholar of performance studies who had some great suggestions and comments. So now I finally feel like I’m starting to get at the core of what’s at stake with these literary representations of Ibsen. I have a list of things to get at the library and skim tomorrow, and I’m hopeful that these will help me frame my analyses of the two texts.
For some reason I also seem to suddenly have a big pile of administrative work to do (consulting stuff for other institutions) too: I spent much of the morning evaluating a course proposal from another university, and of course finalizing the proofs for my Bjørnson article. On the commute to and from work I looked at the supporting documents for a promotion case I’m evaluating and at part of a grant proposal that a colleague has asked me to critique. So. Much. To. Think. About….