Tam, Kwok-kan: Ibsen, Power and the Self
Postsocialist Chinese Experimentations in Stage Performance and Film
This is a study of how theatre and film artists in China, including Hong Kong, explore new visions of Ibsen that go beyond the socialist paradigm of treating Ibsen’s characters, particularly Nora, Dr. Stockmann and Peer Gynt, as personifications of political discourse and class theory, with the self being reduced to ideological abstractions.
Since China’s opening up in 1978, new theatre styles and new concepts of femininity have entered China and have given theatre artists new frameworks for revisioning the self in psychoanalytic dimensions and in relation to power and subjection. Ibsen has become a site of experimentation with traditional Chinese theatre aesthetics and stage design, as well as a testing ground for political and cultural representations of the female body in dance and opera. A visionary figure, Ibsen signifies the experimental and the non-traditional in China today.
Other than critical analyses, the book contains rare materials from the author’s private collection, such as photographs and archival records of Ibsen performances on the Chinese stage, that are made available to the public for the first time.
Kwok-kan Tam is Chair Professor of English and Dean of Humanities and Social Science at the Hang Seng University of Hong Kong. He was Head (2012–18) and is currently member of the International Ibsen Committee, University of Oslo. He is Foundation Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of the Humanities. He has published numerous books and articles on Ibsen, Gao Xingjian, modern drama, Chinese film, postcolonial literature, and world Englishes. His recent books include Chinese Ibsenism: Reinventions of Women, Class and Nation (2019), The Englishized Subject: Postcolonial Writings in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia (2019) and a co-edited volume Fate and Prognostication in the Chinese Literary Imagination (2019).
Table of Contents
List of Figures
Law, Ethics and Gender: Ibsenism in China’s Quest for a Modern Selfhood
Socialist Experimentations with A Doll’s House
Postsocialist Peer Gynt and Rethinking Chinese Selfhood
National Allegory in Postsocialist A Doll’s House
Gender and the Female Body in Cubist Representation
Power and Gaze in Chinese Experimentations with A Doll’s House
Ghosts and New Womanhood in Motherhood
Women’s Self in the Chinese Hedda Gabler and The Lady from the Sea
The Wild Duck and Its Tale in Two Cities
Conclusion: Ibsen, Power and the Self in Postsocialist Chinese Stage Representations
Glossary of Chinese/Cantonese Names, Titles and Terms
ISBN 978-82-8390-017-0, 202 pp., paperback
Format: 17x24 cm, weight 0,5 kg, year of publication 2019, language: English