Abstract

This article suggests that The Awkward Age adapts Henrik Ibsen’s metaphysical tensions and linguistic figures to the structures of a comedy of manners set in the London of the “naughty nineties,” domesticating Ibsen’s philosophical preoccupations to mesh with the social and cultural mores of James’s British readership. Yet the encounter with Ibsen equally leads James to strip bare the essential resources of the ego in order to plumb to the core of certain intractable ethical dilemmas. The objective, scenic design of The Awkward Age is thus shadowed by a subtext that probes suffering, loss and the betrayal of selfhood, and the narrative is darkened and intertwined with an interrogation of existential needs and aspirations.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6555
Print ISSN
0273-0340
Pages
pp. 117-128
Launched on MUSE
2015-05-20
Open Access
No
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