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Little Eyolf

Little Eyolf by Henrik Ibsen
By: (1828-1906)

Henrik Ibsen's 1894 play Little Eyolf tells the story of the Allmers family: the father, Alfred, his wife Rita, their crippled nine-year-old son Eyolf, and Alfred's sister Asta. As the play begins, Alfred has just gotten back from a trip to the mountains, and resolves to spend more time with his son, rather than on intellectual pursuits. Asta is romantically pursued by Borgheim, an engineer, while the cracks in Alfred and Rita's marriage gradually reveal themselves. The family receives a visit from the Rat-Wife, and are never the same again.

First Page:

LITTLE EYOLF

By Henrik Ibsen

Translated, With an Introduction, by William Archer

INTRODUCTION.

Little Eyolf was written in Christiania during 1894, and published in Copenhagen on December 11 in that year. By this time Ibsen's correspondence has become so scanty as to afford us no clue to what may be called the biographical antecedents of the play. Even of anecdotic history very little attaches to it. For only one of the characters has a definite model been suggested. Ibsen himself told his French translator, Count Prozor, that the original of the Rat Wife was "a little old woman who came to kill rats at the school where he was educated. She carried a little dog in a bag, and it was said that children had been drowned through following her." This means that Ibsen did not himself adapt to his uses the legend so familiar to us in Browning's Pied Piper of Hamelin , but found it ready adapted by the popular imagination of his native place, Skien. "This idea," Ibsen continued to Count Prozor, "was just what I wanted for bringing about the disappearance of Little Eyolf, in whom the infatuation [Note: The French word used by Count Prozor is "infatuation... Continue reading book >>


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