Four Major Plays: (Doll's House; Ghosts; Hedda Gabler; and The Master Builder) (Oxford World's Classics)
Taken from the highly acclaimed Oxford Ibsen, this collection of Ibsen's plays includes A Doll's House, Ghosts, Hedda Gabler, and The Master Builder.
About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
A translation to beat all others
By Stephen Taylor - June 20, 2001
James McFarlane's and Jens Arup's translations of Ibsen have long been classics and are arguably the best. Although they were published in England almost forty years ago, they still sound remarkably fresh and will be in print for many years to come.In "A Doll's House" (1879), Ibsen casts us into the world of Nora Helmer, a young Norwegian housewife and Nordic Madame Bovary. Highlighting the restricted position of women in male-dominated society, the play sparked such an uproar in Scandinavia when it appeared that "many a social invitation during that winter bore the words: 'You are requested not to mention Ibsen's Doll's House!'" In fact, Hedwig Niemann-Raabe, the actress who was to play Nora on tour in Germany, was so appalled at the ending of this play -- at this female "monster" -- that she demanded Ibsen write an alternative one in German, which he did (a "barbaric outrage", in his words). McFarlane has appended this German-language... read more
Involving Glimpse Into Ibsen's Theater Of Pain
By Bill Slocum - December 7, 2008
At the core of Henrik Ibsen's art lay a bottomless talent for investigating the way people hurt one another. But reading his "Four Major Plays" is not painful at all; rather, they are thrilling and even delightful for the different ways the playwright captures and sustains our interest.
"A Doll's House" (1879) the first play here, presents the story of Nora Helmer, a seemingly childlike housewife with a weakness for macaroons whose actual level of devotion to her husband and family is kept hidden until the threat of scandal exposes her to a surprisingly judgmental spouse.
Shocking in its day for questioning then-traditional domestic roles, "A Doll's House" makes its best points in its handling of Nora's character and an abrupt conclusion that still startles. If there are touches of excessive melodrama, and I think there are, they are more than compensated for by Ibsen's deft touch in drawing out the suffocating hypocrisy of social norms.
Rather predictably, the first play offered here is "A Doll's House", the most famous of Ibsen's works. Strangely enough, this ended up NOT being my favorite of the four plays provided in this small collection, but I'll get to that in a moment. Next we have "Ghosts", "Hedda Gabler", and finally "The Master Builder".
"A Doll's House", 86 pages long, is also provided here with the alternate German ending. The ending was deemed so scandalous that Ibsen was forced to write up another ending, in which things go slightly differently. "A Doll's House", a play about a woman who rather does the unthinkable (in that time, at least) to help her husband and then once again to herself, is remarkably interesting. Ibsen plays are generally extremely fun to analyze, simply because there's always something there. Nobody would read dull plays, after all. The alternate ending provided is actually the most interesting part of all. It shows us what the impact of this play was on society at the... read more