In English

The Norwegian Shakespeare Society

The importance of Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is no doubt one of the most important personalities in our cultural history, which is particularly evident in the influence he still exerts on theatre, literature and philosophy. Harold Bloom puts Shakespeare at the fulcrum of Western literature; to Bloom, Shakespeare has paved the way for other major writers such as Ibsen, Goethe and James Joyce. It is evident that Ibsen was influenced by Shakespeare; his texts contain both open and hidden quotations from Shakespeare.

Current status

Among other Norwegian writers who owe a heavy debt to Shakespeare, we find Henrik Wergeland, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson and Olav Nygard. Within the fields of philosophy and science, Shakespeare has been an eminently quotable influence – with Hamlet as the most important source of inspiration. Freud found Hamlet one of the main examples of the Oedipus complex, and the French philosopher Jacques Derrida sees him as a very vivid picture of the political challenges we still face in our time. In recent years the Bard has also had a renaissance within film; in particular, Baz Luhrman’s Romeo+Juliet has shown how modern Shakespeare still is.

Our challenge

It should be obvious that Shakespeare is just as important today as a hundred or two hundred years ago. The Norwegian Shakespeare Society aims to convey the role Shakespeare plays for our culture; our main task is to increase the awareness of his works in Norway.

Course at Stratford-upon-Avon

Every year we arrange a study and theatre trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, which has been a great success. There is a limited number of spots available. The Stratford courses are being offered by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, in cooperation with The Shakespeare Institute and The Royal Shakespeare Company. The course lasts for one week, with lectures and discussions in the daytime and visits to the performances of The Royal Shakespeare Company in the evenings. After the performances it is often possible to meet the actors at their favourite pub, «The Dirty Duck».

In addition to the annual trip to Stratford, we have in the past organised trips to Stockholm, Bergen and Gdansk, and regularly organise member events like film nights, lectures, and theatre trips.