Bjørnstjerne Martinus Bjørnson: Det Ny System [The New System] (1106 words)

Kathryn Jane Rees (University of Cambridge)
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This play is primarily social satire, a psychological analysis of the effect of the “small state” on its citizens. We never learn what the “new system” actually is, although engineering terms are used to create a semblance of it. It is a metaphor for a business philosophy which is based on lies and bravado. Attempts to expose the system have been discredited, until a fresh voice from America intervenes, prepared to stand up to vested interests at any cost.

The play opens with a discussion between Karl Ravn, a formerly enthusiastic and confident railroad engineer who is now embittered and cynical, and Hans Kampe, recently returned from a seven-year period in America, and full of ambitious new ideas.  A…

Rees, Kathryn Jane. "Det Ny System". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 October 2017
[, accessed 17 October 2018.]

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