Vol 12 (1999) Problems of Historiography, Theory and Periods

The nature of theatre creates specific problems for historical research connected with it. The work itself cannot be examined in the same way as paintings or literature. It is not merely that the work disappears; it changes even within one production. Despite its transient nature as an event, the subject of theatre research is an artistic creation. Theatre is exceptionally dependent on its audience – theatre artists cannot count on future reception – and it has often had an ideological stamp. For the theatre researchers, and not only for those who have historical productions in mind, the source material is crucial. Documents are simply sources and not the work of art, but do not provide supplementary information as they do for those who can study the artefact itself. It is no surprise that theatre research seems to have adopted methods from history studies to a greater extent than research into other arts. Another remarkable aspect of theatre research is the application of methods borrowed from literary and other arts research. The field is extensive, and needs to be taken up for discussion.

The present theme “Problems of historiography, theory and periods” has been taken up by Nordic Theatre Studies at a relatively late stage considering the lively discussion elsewhere, but his in no way reflects a lack of interest in the past on the part of the Nordic countries; historical and historiographical topics have been discussed under other headings.

Much theatre research examines productions which can no longer be viewed, but it is carried out without a historiographical method. There has been a good deal of historical research as such in many of the Nordic countries, and numbers of national and international projects have been carried through, are in operation or are being planned. Many researchers have also participated in discussions in wider international contexts. It is now time to present some of these efforts in a special volume of our Nordic journal as well. Under the heading of this edition’s specially-chosen theme, the articles discussing different historical events create a selection of historiographical and methodological problems and proposals for solving them. (Continue reading the preface by Pirkko Koski in NTS vol 12…)


Pirkko Koski
Preface – Problems of Historiography, Theory and Periods
Willmar Sauter
Theatrical Events Revisited. Playing Culture and the Historiography of Early Nordic Theatre
Comment Terry Gunnell: Theatrical Events Revisited – A Response
Pentti Paavolainen
Students of 1647 meet Finland. Contextuality as a Key to a better Understanding of Surge!
Kristen Shepherd-Barr
Ibsen, Munch and the Relationship between Modernist Theatre and Art
Ingeborg Nordin Hennel
La Sylphide – On a Guest Performance at The Royal Theatre in Stockholm 1841
Helka Maria Mäkinen
Politics, Sexuality and Emancipated Women. The Reception of Oscar Wilde’s Salome in Finland 1905 and 1919
Annelis Kuhlmann
Stanislavsky’s Artistic Autobiography as Theatre Historiography
Freddie Rokem
Historiography, Biography and Theatrical Representation. Ingmar Bergman’s Aesthetics of Hiding
Steve E. Wilmer
Reifying Imagined Communities; Nationalism, Post-Colonialism and Theatre Historiography

Carlos Wiggen
Getting to Grips with The Tempest. A Dramaturgical Reading
Book Reviews