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Other titles in the Penguin Classics series:
Ghosts and Other Playsby Henrik Ibsen
Synopses & Reviews
Henrik Ibsens most important plays in superb modern translations, part of the new Penguin Ibsen series
This new Penguin Classics series of Henrik Ibsens plays will offer the best available editions in English of the great works by the father of modern drama,” all under the general editorship of Ibsen scholar Tore Rem. All plays included here are newly translated and based on the recently published, definitive Norwegian texts. A Dolls House and Other Plays contains Ibsens masterpieces A Dolls House and Ghosts, as well as The Pillars of Society and An Enemy of the People. The Master Builder and Other Plays collects his last four plays: Little Eyokf, John Gabriel Borkman, and When We Dead Awaken, in addition to the title play.
For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
These plays focus on the family and how it struggles to stay together by telling and exposing lies. In "Ghosts" Osvald Alving discovers the truth about his father, "A Public Enemy" sees two brothers set against each other and "When We Dead Awake" tells of a chance meeting between old lovers.
Three Ibsen plays focusing on family life: "Ghosts" , "A Public Enemy" and "When We Dead Awake".
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 Christiania--present-day Oslo--as 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 poet's 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.
BARBARA J. HAVELAND is a freelance literary translator.
ANNE-MARIE STANTON-IFE is a freelance literary translator.
TORIL MOI is a professor of English, theater studies, and philosophy at Duke University.
TORE REM (general editor), former director of the board of the Centre for Ibsen Studies, is a professor of British literature at the University of Oslo and the author of Henry Gibson/Henrik Ibsen.
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