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An Essay Toward a History of Shakespeare in Norway   By: (1885-1941)

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In "An Essay Toward a History of Shakespeare in Norway," Martin B. Ruud delves into the fascinating topic of the reception and impact of Shakespeare's works in Norway. This meticulously researched book provides readers with a comprehensive analysis of how Shakespearean texts have been translated, performed, and adapted in the Norwegian cultural context.

Ruud's scholarly approach shines through in this book, as he brings together an impressive array of historical sources, critical essays, and archival records to paint a vivid picture of the Norwegian love affair with Shakespeare. One of the strengths of Ruud's work is his ability to examine Shakespeare's enduring popularity in Norway without sacrificing the finer details of the socio-political and cultural climate in which these adaptations occurred.

The author's prose is engaging and accessible, making it a welcome addition to the shelves of both academics and Shakespeare enthusiasts alike. While the subject matter may seem niche, Ruud's skillful storytelling and insightful analysis make the book accessible to a wider audience, allowing readers to develop a deeper understanding of the cross-cultural exchange and influence between England and Norway.

Throughout the book, Ruud demonstrates a keen eye for intriguing anecdotes and lesser-known historical events that shed new light on Norway's relationship with Shakespeare. From his exploration of the earliest known Norwegian performance of a Shakespeare play in 1827 to his examination of modern-day adaptations, Ruud covers a remarkable span of time that showcases the evolution of Shakespearean appreciation in Norway.

Additionally, Ruud's inclusion of vivid illustrations and photographs adds a visual element that complements his descriptive prose, bringing the history and performances to life. The book benefits greatly from these visual aids, as they provide readers with a tangible connection to the performances and translations discussed.

However, it is worth noting that "An Essay Toward a History of Shakespeare in Norway" may not be a book for everyone. Its detailed focus on a specific aspect of Shakespearean influence in a specific country requires a certain level of interest and background knowledge. Nevertheless, for those fascinated by the study of cultural adaptation, theatrical history, or Shakespearean reception, Ruud's work offers valuable insights and a wealth of research to satisfy their curiosity.

In conclusion, "An Essay Toward a History of Shakespeare in Norway" is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the reception and impact of Shakespeare's works beyond their home country. Martin B. Ruud's dedication to meticulous research, engaging prose, and comprehensive analysis make this book a must-read for scholars and enthusiasts alike.

First Page:

The University of Chicago


A Dissertation

Submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Arts and Literature in Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Germanics and English by


Reprint from Scandinavian Studies and Notes Urbana, Illinois 1917

The Collegiate Press George Banta Publishing Company Menasha, Wisconsin


I have attempted in this study to trace the history of Shakespearean translations, Shakespearean criticism, and the performances of Shakespeare's plays in Norway. I have not attempted to investigate Shakespeare's influence on Norwegian literature. To do so would not, perhaps, be entirely fruitless, but it would constitute a different kind of work.

The investigation was made possible by a fellowship from the University of Chicago and a scholarship from the American Scandinavian Foundation, and I am glad to express my gratitude to these bodies for the opportunities given to me of study in the Scandinavian countries... Continue reading book >>

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