Løveid, Cecilie

(1951-)
   A Norwegian poet, novelist, and playwright, Løveid is one of the most innovative writers of her generation. She started out writing poetry that tended toward narrative, and narrative that tended toward poetry. Anchored in the Norwegian feminist movement of the 1970s, she chose themes that were compatible with her social and political views. The fragmentary novel Most (1972), her literary debut, features three women who have been seduced by the same man, while Julia, the protagonist in Tenk om isen skulle komme (1974; What If the Ice Were to Come), has been exploited as an actress in pornographic movies. Alltid skyer over Askøy (1976; Always Clouds over Askøy), while depicting the life ofa single mother, also gives flashbacks into the life of women in past generations. Fanget villrose (1977; Captured Wild Rose) links the oppression of women to capitalism and war. The novel Sug (1979; tr. Sea Swell, 1986), in which the protagonist of Alltid skyer over Askøy returns, tells the poignant story of an unwed mother s search for love and a sense of self after she has been abandoned by her married lover. It is the most significant of Løveid's early works.
   Løveid s greatest contribution to Norwegian literature has, however, been to drama. A prolific playwright, she started out writing radio plays in the late 1960s and the 1970s. Her dramatic breakthrough came with the play Makespisere (1983; tr. Seagull Eaters, 1989), set in Løveid s hometown ofBergen before and during World War II. With strong intertextual references to Henrik Ibsen s Gengangere (1881; tr. Ghosts, 1890) and echoes of the work of the German playwright Bertolt Brecht, it tells the story of a young working-class woman who dreams of becoming an actress but who is exploited sexually and left in misery. Vinteren revner (1983; The Winter Cracks) portrays the relationship between a mother and her daughter, while Balansedame (1984; Tightrope Walker) depicts a woman who must balance her roles as a wife and mother against her desire for self-fulfillment. Fornuftige dyr (1986; Rational Animals) shows that human beings are in reality irrational, especially in matters of love. Dobbel nytelse (1988; tr. Double Delight, 1994) features an archeological dig that turns into a digging into the past of the female protagonist; it emphasizes the instability and malleability of human beings captured by the forces of desire.
   A series of three plays about historical figures constitutes Løveid's most significant dramatic achievement. Barock friise, eller kjærligheten er en større labyrint (1993; Baroque Frieze; or, Love Is a Larger Labyrinth) explores the life and times of Zille Gad, a woman with strong intellectual interests born in Bergen in the late 1600s. Maria Q (1994) is an attempt to understand the Ukrainian-born wife of the Nazi collaborator Vidkun Quisling (1887-1945), who was executed in 1945. Rhindøtrene (1996; Daughters of the Rhine) features the life of the medieval mystic Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179).
   Henrik Ibsen s enduring importance for Norwegian dramatists is demonstrated not only by the significance of Gengangere to Makes-pisere,but even more so in Østerrike (1998; Austria), in which Løveid radically reinterprets the character Agnes in Ibsen s Br nd (1866; tr. 1894), pairing her up with the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), who in his fanatical commitment to his discipline parallels Ibsen s character Brand s commitment to religion. Much in Wittgenstein s spirit, Østerrike is an interesting meditation on the power and limits oflanguage.
   Løveid returned to poetry with the collection Spilt (2001; Played). She has also written drama and fiction for children.
   See also Theater.

Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Literature and Theater. . 2006.

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