‘Wake the people and make them think big’

From The Guardian:

Of the two greatest dramatists of the 19th century, Chekhov and Ibsen, it is the infinitely lovable Ibsenh1 Dr Chekhov who holds the highest place in our affections, both as man and as author. But Ibsen, the forbidding man of the north – accusatory eyes fiercely staring out at us from behind steel-rimmed spectacles, thin, severe lips tightly pursed amid the bizarre facial topiary – may be the one who speaks most urgently to us today. At the time of his death, almost 100 years ago, Henrik Ibsen’s significance as a leader of thought was overwhelming. In 1900, the young James Joyce, still a student, wrote of him: “It must be questioned whether any man has held so firm an empire over the thinking world in modern times … his genius as an artist faces all, shirks nothing … the long roll of drama, ancient or modern, has few better things to show.” Joyce (and later Wittgenstein) learned Norwegian specifically in order to read Ibsen’s plays in the original.

More here.