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date: 19 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

During the 1910s and early 1920s, some thirty known film adaptations of works by Henrik Ibsen were produced in a number of countries. Chapter 9 examines the four American silent film Ibsen adaptations still known to exist: The Pillars of Society (1911), Peer Gynt (1915), Ghosts (1915), and Pillars of Society (1916). Drawing on extant film material, contemporary film reviews, and trade press articles, it approaches these films, through their various adaptation strategies and their trade press reception, in terms of broader discourses about what is often characterized as the transitional period in US film history, focusing in particular on discussions throughout the 1910s concerning medium specificity and media borders. The essay emphasizes stylistic and narrative strategies in the four films, in particular those connected to space, narrative, and performance, as well as ethical and moral considerations associated with the Ibsen film, including their contemporaneous reception.

Keywords: silent film, Henrik Ibsen, adaptation, film history, Pillars of Society

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