Skip to Content


Ibsen’s Empty Nurseries: Staged, Offstage, Backstage

Olivia Noble Gunn, Abstract for Anderson Lecture

November 28th, 4:15-6:30pm in the Knight Library Browsing Room

The nursery room was a major source of anxiety in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Europe, and a prime site in literature for reaffirming and contesting ideologies of the reproductive family. In “Ibsen’s Empty Nurseries,” I consider how this domestic space matters in the case of Henrik Ibsen. I begin by describing the staging of a nursery in an exhibit at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, which was inspired by A Doll’s House (1879). I then contrast this staging with offstage children’s rooms in Hedda Gabler (1890), The Master Builder (1892), and Little Eyolf (1894). Finally, I go backstage, discussing the role of the nanny in the bourgeois Norwegian home at the turn-of-the-century. These distinct manifestations and conceptions of nurseries allow me to explore the limits of realism in Ibsen’s oeuvre, as well as the significance of childhood, innocence, and women’s labor in his late plays. Together with Ibsen, I displace the child and center the empty bourgeois nursery, arguing that it is a more precise symbol for the ideology of innocence than the child.

German Campus Weeks 2018: Shaping Germany

The UO Department of German and Scandinavian together with the German Embassy in Washington, D.C., would like to invite faculty and students to participate in a series of events for German Campus Weeks 2018. This year’s topic is “Shaping Germany” and focuses mostly on the internal factors that are contributing to what Germany will look like in 20, 30 or 50 years. For more information and the full schedule of events, please see our events page:



See our other upcoming events!

Skip to toolbar