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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : European Languages & Cultures - Scandinavian Stud

Undergraduate Course: Ibsen and Brandes (Ordinary) (ELCS09015)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course examines key works of two major figures of the Scandinavian late 19th century. It will begin with a study of the early Ibsen, tracing his development away from National Romanticism. It then moves on to the critic Georg Brandes, discussing his seminal views on modern literature as expressed ca. 1870 and comparing these with his 'aristocratic radicalism' of the 1890s. The key ideas of Brandes' critique of Ibsen and its development from the early 1880s to the late 1890s will also be examined. The tenets of Realism and Naturalism are studied as exemplified (and diverged from) by the plays of Ibsen. The last part of the course will concentrate on some of the later plays by Ibsen, examining their departures from Naturalism towards Symbolism.
Course description Based upon the study of a selection of key plays by Henrik Ibsen and critical texts by Georg Brandes, the course aims to foster an understanding of developments in aesthetical norms and critical thought in the second half of the 19th century and to explore how Brandes and Ibsen positioned themselves in relation to Romanticism, Realism, Naturalism, and Symbolism. Ibsen¿s dramatic work will be analysed from a technical angle, the setting of the plays and the psychology of the main characters will be mapped, and the ideological content of the plays will be discussed. Continuities and discontinuities between Ibsen¿s realist drama and his subsequent symbolist drama will be explored. The course will additionally consider why Scandinavian Realist and Naturalist drama came to occupy a dominant position during this period. Brandes¿ seminal ideas on modern literature and culture, and their relevance to Ibsen¿s development as a dramatist, will be traced from his advocation of literature as a vehicle for ideological scrutiny and critique around 1870 to his Nietzschean turn towards the superior mind as the source of culture around 1890. Furthermore, the course will explore Brandes¿ Ibsen criticism, comparing his Ibsen ¿impressions¿ of the early 1880s with those of the late 1890s. The development of Brandes¿ appreciation of Ibsen¿s drama will be considered in light of the overarching changes (but also continuities) in Brandes¿ cultural positions from the 1870s to the 1890s. Brandes¿ Ibsen studies will be utilised, moreover, as scholarship relevant to the specific Ibsen plays studied on the course. The course will be built around a series of short video presentations, in-depth study of works and texts by Ibsen and Brandes and of relevant scholarship, and discussion boards. Students will be expected to prepare presentations and to actively take part in discussion boards.

Breakdown of Learning & Teaching Activities:
Each week, the students will watch between 2 and 3 short videos (max. 10 minutes) to introduce them to the specific themes to be studied [Asynchronous]. These videos are linked to further resources and core reading materials, available via the course Learn page [Asynchronous]. After engaging with the teaching and reading materials, students will complete a graded Multiple-Choice Quiz via Learn [Asynchronous]. The Quiz will test whether the students have absorbed and understood the factual underpinning of a named theme from their readings.

All students will also be assigned to small autonomous learning groups for the purpose of participating in a weekly discussion group, focusing on 5-6 questions relating to the week¿s themes. Each group will discuss these questions amongst themselves outwith class time. The whole class will then meet synchronously, with one member from each group communicating their conclusions to the whole class [Synchronous]. When students are unable to attend the discussion group, they will make an audio recording of their answers and submit them in advance. The remainder of the discussion will be recorded for the benefit of students who cannot attend in person or via the internet. Teaching staff will respond to questions posted on the group discussion board for the remainder of that week [Asynchronous].

Over the first 5 weeks of the course, the students will formulate individual essay proposals, identifying a viable topic for a discursive essay.

Potentially Re-Traumatising Content:
In this course, we will be discussing content that may be re-traumatising to some students. We believe in the importance of engaging with this material and so please rest assured that we will work with you to ensure you can participate fully and demonstrate your achievement of the learning outcomes of the course, without compromising your wellbeing or your academic development. If you have concerns at any point, we invite you to approach the course organiser to discuss how we can best support you in your work on this course. We affirm that you will be treated with dignity and respect in all discussions and at every stage of the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesIn order to be eligible to take 4th Year Options, Visiting Students should have the equivalent of at least two years of study at University level of the appropriate language(s) and culture(s).

Displayed in Prospectus?
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a good understanding of Henrik Ibsen¿s and Georg Brandes¿ literary and critical production and the significance of the interrelation between the two cultural figures.
  2. Critically appraise individual plays and developments in Ibsen¿s work utilising a range of sources, approaches and methods of interpretation, and critically appraise Brandes¿ Ibsen scholarship and its development.
  3. Produce clear, complex reports, articles and essays, which develop arguments both critically and systematically with the use of relevant emphases, subsidiary points, and examples.
  4. Demonstrate finely honed communication, presentation and interaction skills across a wide range of media and circumstances, both formal and informal, for lay and specialised audiences.
  5. Consistently exercise autonomy and initiative, taking significant responsibility for the work of others and for a range of resources to bring about new thinking.
Reading List
Primary Texts:

Henrik Ibsen
Kongsemnerne (1857)
Paa Vidderne (1859)
Terje Vigen (1862)
Et Dukkehjem (1879)
Gengangere (1881)
Fruen fra havet (1888)
Vildanden (1884)
Hedda Gabler (1890)
Bygmester Solness (1892)

Georg Brandes
Indledningsforelæsning (1871)
Henrik Ibsen. Andet Indtryk (1882)
Det store Menneske, Kulturens Kilde
Henrik Ibsen. Tredje Indtryk (1898)

Secondary reading:

J Northam Ibsen. A Critical Study
R Ferguson Ibsen
E Beyer Ibsen: The Man and his Work
M Meyer Henrik Ibsen
Bull, Koht and Seip Ibsens dramaer
R Fjelde (ed) Twentieth Century Views on Ibsen
J MacFarlane Ibsen: A Critical Anthology
G Ahlström Det moderna genombrottet
P T Andersen Dekadanse i nordisk litteratur 1880-1900
E Bredsdorff Den store nordiske krig om seksualmoralen
E Nolin Georg Brandes
S Møller Kristensen 'G Brandes: A Survey' in Scandinavica
P Dahlerup Det moderne gennembruds kvinder
A Sæther, J Dines
Johansen & A Kittang (eds) Ibsen og Brandes. Studier i et forhold (Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 2006)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Arne Kruse
Tel: (0131 6)50 4025
Course secretaryMiss Gillian Paterson
Tel: (0131 6)50 3646
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