Parody as Translation: Ibsen’s new woman in the pages of Punch

  • Rebecca Flynn McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario
Keywords: New woman, parody, Ibsen, humour, modern drama, British audiences

Abstract

“Parody as Translation: Ibsen’s new woman in the pages of Punch” examines four comic parodies of Ibsen written by Thomas Antsey Guthrie, a British journalist and humourist also known as F. Antsey. The plays examined include parodies of Rosmersholm, A Doll’s House, Hedda Gabler, and The Master Builder — comically abbreviated renditions of Ibsen originals that featured striking new women characters. Reading these parodies as responses to their originals, I examine what happens to the new woman character when she is subjected to comic parodic treatment. Although the parodies do not directly focus on the alteration of these key female characters, I argue that Antsey’s parodic critique of Ibsenian dramaturgical mechanics, conventions, and tropes indirectly impacted their representation, transforming them from tragic heroines to comic figures and raising further questions about the relationship between gender and comedy. In each parody, the psychological complexity of the new woman character is compromised through Antsey’s alteration of one or more of her key purposes within Ibsen’s text. Overall, I argue that the reassessment and reinterpretation of these key Norwegian texts can be viewed as a mode of transition between Ibsen and those impacted and influenced by him, providing a cultural medium or “buffer” that helped connect the notably “serious” Scandinavian playwright with British audiences.

Author Biography

Rebecca Flynn, McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario
Rebecca Flynn is a Master of Arts Candidate in Gender Studies and Feminist Research at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. She also holds a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Studies from the University of Calgary and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Drama and English Language and Literature from Queen’s University.

References

Abrams, M. H. 1988. A Glossary of Literary Terms. Florida: Holt, Reinhart, and Winston.

“’A Loud, Mocking Clamour of Noise…’ Punch Or: The London Charivari: A Cultural Treasure Trove” in The Victorianist, 2013.

Antsey, F. 1893. Mr. Punch’s Pocket Ibsen: A Collection of Some of the Master’s Best-Known Dramas Condensed, Revised, and Slightly Rearranged for the Benefit of the Earnest Student. New York: Macmillan.

Carlson, Susan. 1991. Women and Comedy: Rewriting the British Theatrical Tradition. Michigan: University of Michigan Press.

Cunningham & Lawrence & Reich, John J. 2009. Culture and Values, Volume II: A Survey of the Humanities with Readings. Boston: Cengage Learning.

Davis, Tracy C. 1985. “Spoofing ‘The Master’: Parodies and Burlesques of Ibsen on the English Stage and in the Popular Press” in Nineteenth Century Theatre Research, vol. 13 no. 2, 1985.

Egan, Michael. 1972. Ibsen: The Critical Heritage. London: Routledge.

Franc, Miriam Alice. 1970. Ibsen in England. Folcroft: Folcroft Press.

Frye, Northrop. 1981. “The Mythos of Spring: Comedy” in Comedy: Meaning and Form. New York: Harper and Row.

Gates, Joanne. 1985. “Elizabeth Robins and the 1891 Production of Hedda Gabler” in Modern Drama, vol. 28 no. 4, 1985.

Hutcheon, Linda. 2000. A Theory of Parody: The Teachings of Twentieth-Century Art Forms. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Kelly, Katherine E. 2008. “Pandemic and Performance: Ibsen and the Outbreak of Modernism” in South Central Review, vol. 25 no. 1, 2008.

Shaw, Bernard. 1891. The Quintessence of Ibsenism. Boston: B. R. Tucker.

Templeton, Joan. 1997. Ibsen’s Women. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Published
2017-12-29
How to Cite
Flynn, R. (2017). Parody as Translation: Ibsen’s new woman in the pages of Punch. Nordic Theatre Studies, 28(2), 56-70. https://doi.org/10.7146/nts.v28i2.25518
Section
Articles thematic section