Henrik Ibsen Four Major Plays: Volume 1

ISBN 13: 9780451511850

Four Major Plays: Volume 1

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9780451511850: Four Major Plays: Volume 1

The translations, created through a fresh approach to the Norwegian original in tandem with a keen sense of Ibsen's theatricallity and playability, have all been tested and refined in productions at professional theaters.

The translators have paid particular attention to three aspects of Ibsen's technique: his wit and humor, his "supertext" - the web of rich allusions and references that he weaves in and around his dialogue - and the bold theatricallity of the plays. The result is an Ibsen that sounds contemporary without being slangy or colloquial - an Ibsen of strong ideas but also living characters - and surprisingly different from the image of the cold, forbidding "scold of the North" that we often associate with this giant writer.

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About the Author:

Henrik Ibsen was born of well-to-do parents at Skien, a small Norwegian coastal town, on March 20, 1828. In 1836 his father went bankrupt, and the family was reduced to near poverty. At the age of fifteen, he was apprenticed to an apothecary in Grimstad. In 1850 Ibsen ventured to Christianiapresent-day Osloas a student, with the hope of becoming a doctor. On the strength of his first two plays he was appointed theater-poet to the new Bergen National Theater, where he wrote five conventional romantic and historical dramas and absorbed the elements of his craft. In 1857 he was called to the directorship of the financially unsound Christiania Norwegian Theater, which failed in 1862. In 1864, exhausted and enraged by the frustration of his efforts toward a national drama and theater, he quit Norway for what became twenty-seven years of voluntary exile abroad. In Italy he wrote the volcanic Brand (1866), which made his reputation and secured him a poets stipend from the government. Its companion piece, the phantasmagoric Peer Gynt, followed in 1867, then the immense double play, Emperor and Galilean (1873), expressing his philosophy of civilization. Meanwhile, having moved to Germany, Ibsen had been searching for a new style. With The Pillars of Society he found it; this became the first of twelve plays, appearing at two-year intervals, that confirmed his international standing as the foremost dramatist of his age. In 1900 Ibsen suffered the first of several strokes that incapacitated him. He died in Oslo on May 23, 1906.

Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Norwegian

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