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Early Plays — Catiline, the Warrior's Barrow, Olaf Liljekrans   By: (1828-1906)

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This eBook was produced by David Starner, Michael Kaelbling, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team

This series of SCANDINAVIAN CLASSICS was published by the American Scandinavian Foundation in the belief that greater familiarity with the chief literary monuments of the North will help Americans to a better understanding of Scandinavians, and thus serve to stimulate their sympathetic co operation to good ends.

SCANDINAVIAN CLASSICS

VOLUME XVII

EARLY PLAYS

by

HENRIK IBSEN

EARLY PLAYS

CATILINE, THE WARRIOR'S BARROW, OLAF LILJEKRANS

by

HENRIK IBSEN

TRANSLATED FROM THE NORWEGIAN BY ANDERS ORBECK, A. M.

Assistant Professor of English in the University of Montana

To

O. W. Firkins

Teacher and Friend and Inspirer of these Translations.

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

CATILINE

THE WARRIOR'S BARROW

OLAF LILJEKRANS

LIST OF FOUNDATION PUBLICATIONS

INTRODUCTION

One of the most remarkable facts about Ibsen is the orderly development of his genius. He himself repeatedly maintained that his dramas were not mere isolated accidents. In the foreword to the readers in the popular edition of 1898 he urges the public to read his dramas in the same order in which he had written them, deplores the fact that his earlier works are less known and less understood than his later works, and insists that his writings taken as a whole constitute an organic unity. The three of his plays offered here for the first time in English translation will afford those not familiar with the original Norwegian some light on the early stages of his development.

Catiline , the earliest of Ibsen's plays, was written in 1849, while Ibsen was an apothecary's apprentice in Grimstad. It appeared in Christiania in the following spring under the pseudonym Brynjolf Bjarme. The revolutionary atmosphere of 1848 49, the reading of the story of Catiline in Sallust and Cicero in preparation for the university examinations, the hostility which existed between the apprentice and his immediate social environment, the fate which the play met at the hands of the theatrical management and the publishers, his own struggles at the time, are all set forth clearly enough in the preface to the second edition. The play was written in the blank verse of Oehlenschlaeger's romantic dramas. Ibsen's portrayal of the Roman politician is not in accord with tradition; Catiline is not an out and out reprobate, but an unfortunate and highly sensitive individual in whom idealism and licentiousness struggle for mastery. Vasenius, in his study of the poet ( Ibsens Dramatiska Diktning in dess Första Skede , Helsingfors, 1879), insists that Ibsen thus intuitively hit upon the real Catiline revealed by later nineteenth century research. The poet seems not to have heard of Duma's Catiline , which appeared about the same time, nor of earlier plays on the subject by Ben Jonson and others. The struggle in Ibsen's play is centered in the soul of Catiline; not once do his political opponents appear on the scene. Only one critic raised his voice in behalf of the play at the time of its appearance, and only a few copies of the original edition survive... Continue reading book >>




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