'Ibsen's Selected Plays'
By Henrik Ibsen (Author), Brian Johnston (Editor)
The Norton Critical Edition includes five major plays spanning Ibsen’s long career in recent translations by Brian Johnston (Peer Gynt, The Wild Duck, and The Master Builder) and Brian Johnston and Rick Davis (A Doll House and Hedda Gabler). The translation of Peer Gynt appears for the first time in this Norton Critical Edition.
“Backgrounds” gives students an understanding of Ibsen’s creative process with selections from his correspondence and other writings. Twenty-seven documents have been collected and arranged by play, with a section of autobiographical writings at the end.
Ibsen’s plays continue to provoke diverse commentary. “Criticism” includes nineteen of the most important responses to Ibsen’s work, among them essays by Bernard Shaw, Sandra Saari, E. M. Forster, Hugh Kenner, and Joan Templeton.
A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.
Henrik Johan Ibsen was a major Norwegian playwright largely responsible for the rise of modern realistic drama. He is often referred to as the "father of modern drama." Ibsen is held to be the greatest of Norwegian authors and one of the most important playwrights of all time, celebrated as a national symbol by Norwegians.
His plays were considered scandalous to many of his era, when Victorian values of family life and propriety largely held sway in Europe and any challenge to them was considered immoral and outrageous. Ibsen's work examined the realities that lay behind many facades, possessing a revelatory nature that was disquieting to many contemporaries.
Ibsen largely founded the modern stage by introducing a critical eye and free inquiry into the conditions of life and issues of morality. Victorian-era plays were expected to be moral dramas with noble protagonists pitted against darker forces; every drama was expected to result in a morally appropriate conclusion, meaning that goodness was to bring happiness, and immorality pain. Ibsen challenged this notion and the beliefs of his times and shattered the illusions of his audiences.
Note: 'Great Books of the Western World recommends 'Peer Gynt', 'The Wild Duck', 'The Master Builder' , 'A Doll House' and 'Hedda Gabler' of Ibsen all of which are in this edition.