Monday, August 11, 2014

Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts (1881/1987)

Today's recommended viewing: Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts (1881/1987; starring Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench).

Brother-sister incest, hereditary profligacy, syphilis, euthanasia, rape, bastardry, whoremongery, women reading (social theory) books, free love, neglected wife seducing pastor--this play (condemned universally upon premier in 1882) has got it all. 

(Study Guide forthcoming)


*Update: This just in→Study Guide Question #1: The play speaks/addresses many of the taboos of European civil society in the 1870-1880s. Of course little/none of this shocks us today (as it did audiences in 1882). In our age (which is dominated by "the superego injunction to enjoy," to borrow Zizek's phrase), what are the taboos/limits of acceptable discourse? What kinds of thoughts/statements incur frowns in polite liberal circles/country clubs? What kinds of statements/tweets get university professors fired? Write a play that speaks/addresses these taboos."

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