George Bernard Shaw: The Quintessence of Ibsenism

(4875 words)
  • Peter Christopher Grosvenor (Pacific Lutheran University )

The Irish playwright, art critic, and socialist polemicist George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was widely acknowledged as the pre-eminent interpreter and promoter of Ibsen’s realist drama and the radical individualism and philosophy of self-actualization it embodied. Shaw was introduced to Ibsen’s work in 1883 via a chance encounter in the Reading Room of the British Museum with the Scottish theatre critic William Archer, who had translated Ibsen’s work from the original Norwegian. Shaw’s extended essay The Quintessence of Ibsenism appeared in 1891. Written against the general background of the controversies sparked by Ibsen’s plays following their appearance on the London stage in the late 1880s, Shaw’s essay was the …

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Grosvenor, Peter Christopher. "The Quintessence of Ibsenism". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 September 2008
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]