Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Review of my Ibsen Book
Check out a new review of my scholarly book, Ibsen's Foreign Contagion, by Petra Dierkes-Thrun, Stanford University, at UpStage.
"Carlo Matos’s new study does not focus on Ibsen, Pinero, or stage modernism per se, as the title would suggest, but rather on the reception of these authors in the late-Victorian press and specifically the reviewers’ striking use of metaphors of contagion and disease. Following the 1891 London premiere of Ibsen’s scandalous syphilis play Ghosts (discussed in chapter 2), Matos argues, the English reviewers - and later even Pinero and Jones themselves in some of their plays - strategically employed metaphors of disease and contagion to reject Ibsen as a dangerous foreign influence on English culture. While it is a well-known fact that Ibsen received a generally hostile press reception in England (Ibsen’s principal defenders Shaw, Archer, and Gosse found plenty to argue against, after all), Matos’s extended close readings of the English press reviews, and his argument that they can best be accessed through an awareness of the cultural role of actual contagious diseases like cholera and smallpox in the 19th century, are original contributions."