Suzannah Ibsen

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Suzannah Ibsen

Suzannah Ibsen (née Thoresen) (26 June 1836 – 3 April 1914) was the wife of playwright and poet Henrik Ibsen.


Suzannah Daae Thoresen was born in Herøy, Møre og Romsdal, Norway. Her parents were Hans Conrad Thoresen (1802–1858) and his second wife, Sara Margrethe Daae (1806–1841). After her mother's death in childbirth, her father married the family's Danish-born governess, Magdalene Thoresen (1819–1903), who became a poet, novelist, short story writer and playwright. Her family subsequently moved to Bergen where her father was dean of the historic Cross Church (Korskirken).

After the success of his first publicly successful drama The Feast at Solhaug, Ibsen was invited to Magdalene Thoresen’s literary salon. It was here he first met and fell in love with Susannah. Henrik Ibsen was at this time the stage director at the Norwegian Theatre (Det Norske Theater) in Bergen. In 1858 Suzannah Ibsen translated Graf Waldemar (1847) by German dramatist Gustav Freytag into Norwegian. The play was first performed in September 1861.

Susannah became engaged to Henrik Ibsen in January 1856 and they were married in June 1858. Their only child, Sigurd Ibsen, was born in December 1859. Sigurd Ibsen, a Norwegian author and politician, married Bergliot Bjørnson, the daughter of Norwegian writer Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.

Her daughter-in-law, Bergliot Ibsen wrote a book which was about her husband's famous family entitled De tre. Erindringer om Henrik Ibsen, Suzannah Ibsen, Sigurd Ibsen. Published in Norway during 1948, it was translated into English and published as The Three Ibsens in 1952.[1]



  • Ibsen, Bergliot The Three Ibsens: Memories of Henrik Ibsen, Suzannah Ibsen and Sigurd Ibsen (New York: American-Scandinavian Foundation. 1952)