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Love's Comedy   By: (1828-1906)

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Love's Comedy by Henrik Ibsen offers readers a thought-provoking exploration of the complexities of love and relationships. Set in a small Norwegian town, the story follows Falk, an aspiring writer, and his romantic pursuits. From the beginning, Ibsen presents a nuanced portrayal of love, defying societal norms and highlighting the dark undercurrents often hidden beneath its idealized surface.

One of the most striking aspects of the book is its examination of the disparities between the expectations and realities of love. Ibsen challenges the conventional notions of love prevalent during his time, where relationships were often based on superficial attractions or societal pressures. Instead, he suggests that true love requires a deep understanding of one's partner and the ability to see beyond surface-level qualities. Through Falk's interactions with different women, the reader is presented with a range of perspectives on love, each ultimately questioning society's notions of romantic success.

Moreover, Love's Comedy delves into the theme of self-deception. Falk, driven by his longing for love and admiration, grapples with his own insecurities and illusions. Ibsen's examination of self-deception is both enlightening and cautionary, forcing readers to confront their own vulnerability to this subtle trap. Throughout the story, we witness Falk's self-deception unfold, leading to moments of both humor and discomfort, ultimately serving as a reminder of our own fallibility.

Ibsen's skillful characterization is another notable aspect of the book. Each character feels distinctly human, flawed, and relatable. Falk, in particular, emerges as a complex and multi-dimensional protagonist. His struggles, successes, and ultimate growth feel genuine, adding depth and realism to the narrative. The ensemble cast also shines, with a variety of supporting characters that offer diverse perspectives on love, marriage, and societal expectations.

The narrative, while at times dense, is beautifully crafted. Ibsen's eloquent prose and ability to capture the intricacies of human emotions make for a compelling read. The setting, a small Norwegian town, is vividly depicted, immersing readers in the societal constraints faced by the characters. The dialogue is another highlight, effectively conveying the tension and dynamics between characters during moments of conflict or revelation.

While Love's Comedy is undoubtedly a thought-provoking and well-written piece, it may not be everyone's cup of tea. Its introspective nature and explorations of societal norms may not appeal to readers seeking a fast-paced or plot-driven story. However, for those interested in delving into the complexities of love, relationships, and the human condition, Ibsen's work stands as a timeless examination of these themes.

In conclusion, Love's Comedy is an insightful and introspective novel that challenges societal expectations and explores the intricacies of love. With its complex characters and eloquent prose, it offers a captivating read for those willing to delve into the depths of human emotions and relationships. Ibsen's exploration of self-deception and his ability to challenge conventional notions make this book a worthwhile addition to any reader's collection.

First Page:

E text prepared by Douglas Levy

The Collected Works of Henrik Ibsen, Volume I


Translation by C. H. Herford


Koerlighedens Komedie was published at Christiania in 1862. The polite world so far as such a thing existed at the time in the Northern capital received it with an outburst of indignation now entirely easy to understand. It has indeed faults enough. The character drawing is often crude, the action, though full of effective by play, extremely slight, and the sensational climax has little relation to human nature as exhibited in Norway, or out of it, at that or any other time. But the sting lay in the unflattering veracity of the piece as a whole; in the merciless portrayal of the trivialities of persons, or classes, high in their own esteem; in the unexampled effrontery of bringing a clergyman upon the stage. All these have long since passed in Scandinavia, into the category of the things which people take with their Ibsen as a matter of course, and the play is welcomed with delight by every Scandinavian audience. But in 1862 the matter was serious, and Ibsen meant it to be so.

For they were years of ferment those six or seven which intervened between his return to Christiania from Bergen in 1857, and his departure for Italy in 1864... Continue reading book >>

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