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Peer Gynt 150 years – but lives at its best

With the national satire Peer Gynt, Ibsen created a catalog of so-called "Norwegian values": the urge to dream away, ambivalence, lies, bigotry madness and a solid portion of selfishness.

14. November for 150 years ago our national drama came out Peer Gynt at Gyldendal's publishing house in Copenhagen. With the play, Ibsen criticized Norwegian national romance in a national romantic way.

Ibsen had been skeptical of national kitsch and excessive Norwegian worship. When in 1851 he published the journal Andhrimner with Aasmund Olavsson Vinje and Paul Botten-Hansen, he slaughtered the now forgotten author PA Jensen's drama Holder's Home. The play was so overly national that it parodied itself, just like the opening of the Lillehammer Olympics in 1994: It was full of «national. . .

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Eivind Tjønneland
Historian of ideas and author.

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