The Fantasy of Peer Gynt: Henrik Ibsen's Theosophical Reception
Giuliano D'Amico, Oslos universitet.
My talk will focus on The Fantasy of Peer Gynt, an abridged version of Henrik Ibsen’s 1867 play Peer Gynt that was also its first British staging (1908). Focusing on the work of its stage manager, the Theosophist Isabelle M. Pagan, I will discuss how this adaptation was entangled with Theosophical discourse of the period and how Theosophy can illuminate an assessment of the production. In addition, I will touch on the place of The Fantasy of Peer Gynt in “occult” theatre history of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Finally, I will also ask how Pagan’s adaptation can shed new light on its hypotext, Peer Gynt, and offer a way out of an impasse that characterizes the scholarly tradition on the play.
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