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About the Author: Henrik Ibsen

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.


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Paperback, Published in Feb 1959 by Penguin Classics

ISBN10: 0140440534 | ISBN13: 9780140440539

Page count: 384

The four plays in this volume, written late in Ibsen's career as a dramatist, move away from his earlier preoccupation with people at odds with society to instead explore the inward struggle with their own thoughts, feelings and dreams. "The Master Builder" (1892) depicts a powerful man whose illusions collapse in the face of a young woman's courageous common sense. In "Rosmersholm" (1886), an idealist is forced to question his beliefs and confront terrible truths about the past, while "Little Eyolf" (1894) portrays a man's self-deception, which brings both tragic repercussions for his family and new hope for their future. And in "John Gabriel Borkman" (1896), a dying woman returns to reclaim the affections and loyalty of her nephew, resulting in a bitter struggle with her sister.

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