cover of book

Laughter and Civility: The Theater of Emma Gad
by Lynn R. Wilkinson
translated by Lynn R. Wilkinson
University of Wisconsin Press, 2020
Cloth: 978-0-299-32930-3 | eISBN: 978-0-299-32933-4
Library of Congress Classification PT8127.G33Z95 2020
Dewey Decimal Classification 839.8187207

Emma Gad (1852–1921) was a prolific Danish playwright at the turn of the twentieth century. With sparkling prose and witty dialogue, Gad’s ambitious and sophisticated theatrical productions raised important and still pressing questions about sexuality and morality—including the status of women in marriage, divorce, same‐sex desire, and marital infidelity. Through her plays she engaged with contemporaries like Henrik Ibsen, Oscar Wilde, and George Bernard Shaw, yet she is primarily remembered for her etiquette book, Takt og Tone.

Laughter and Civility, the first biographical and scholarly volume to examine and contextualize her dramas, deeply explores how and why influential women are so often excluded from the canon. Lynn R. Wilkinson provides insightful readings into all twenty-five of Gad’s plays and demonstrates how writers and intellectuals of the time, including Georg and Edvard Brandes, took her critically acclaimed work seriously. This volume rightfully reinstates Emma Gad’s work into the repertory of European drama and is crucial for scholars interested in turn‐of‐the‐century Scandinavian drama, literature, culture, and politics.

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