Article Title

The Lacanian Imaginary in Ibsen's Pillars of Society and The Wild Duck


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

In a recent analysis of Ibsen's beginnings, Thomas F. Van Laan argues that the playwright "deceives us concerning both the matter of the play-i.e., its central business-and its manner- Le., its particular style and mode."1 The opening moments of an Ibsen play temporarily mislead the viewer in one way or another about its overall design. As the play moves from beginning to end, the reader is forced to revise initial assumptions about who the crucial characters are, where the action will go, and how it will get there. For Van Laan, reading an Ibsen text is an exercise in the revision of interpretative paradigms. This view has broader and deeper implications for the study of Ibsen's dramatic texts than Van Laan himself acknowledges. In this article, I argue that Ibsen stages the revision of interpretative paradigms. As Van Laan's reader revises strategies for reading the text, Ibsen's protagonist revises strategies for enacting the self.

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