The time of great emotion has returned. Democracy and melodrama in Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson’s literary work

A reading of Bjørnson today should take into account that he gave women a voice and a main position in many of his works. Second to Camilla Collett, he was a pioneer in calling attention to women's place in society. Some of his works with a female protagonist are discussed in relation to Martha Nussbaum's theory of poetic justice, underlining the significance of fiction for democratic thought. This is further developed by drawing on Peter Brook's work on the melodramatic imagination.

Keywords: Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, ethics, democracy, melodrama, Martha C. Nussbaum, Peter Brooks