Ibsens ghost

Pastor Manders had previously advised her to return to her husband despite his philandering, and she followed his advice in the belief that her love for her husband would eventually reform him.

Ibsens ghost

Nine years later, when he was 61, Ibsen met an year-old Viennese girl and fell in love. She asked him to live with her; he at first agreed but, crippled by guilt and fear of scandal and perhaps impotence as wellhe put an end to the relationship.

Ibsens ghost

Perhaps his disavowal of authorial presence in Ghosts was a little disingenuous. When he was working on the play he wrote to a friend: To live is to war with trolls in heart and soul. To write is to sit in judgment on oneself. He empathises, actually identifies, with women both as social victims and as people.

Ibsens ghost

But that he knows women is an incontrovertible fact. He appears to have Ibsens ghost them to almost unfathomable depths.

In the face of the bones of true experience, you feel that the great enemy, apart from social repression and superstition, is to be bored with life and indifferent to its suffering.

The great political activist Emma Goldman wrote: Into the remotest nooks and corners reaches his voice, with its thundering indictment of our moral cancers, our social poisons, our hideous crimes against unborn and born victims.

Ghosts was written when Ibsen was living in Rome in the summer of and was published in December in Denmark. He anticipated its reception: If it did not do so, it would not have been necessary to write it. There was an outcry of indignation against the attack on religion, the defence of free love, the mention of incest and syphilis.

Large piles of unsold copies were returned to the publisher, the booksellers embarrassed by their presence on the shelves.

Ghosts was sent to a number of theatres in Scandinavia, who all rejected it — it was first performed by Danish and Norwegian amateurs in a hall in Chicago in Mayfor an audience of Scandinavian immigrants.

The play was staged in Sweden the following year and this production then appeared in Denmark and, in latein Norway, where the reviews were good. It detonated an explosion of critical venom: Munch had no experience of stage design but helped the actors by doing sketches of the characters in different scenes, expressing what was going on in their minds.

He designed a set that surrounded realistic Biedermeier furniture with an expressionistic setting, walls of sickly egg-yolk yellow fading to ochre. Which is, of course, what lies in the process of directing a play and translating it: The first choice — and the first indication of the difficulty of rendering any play into another language — is what title to give the play.

The Norwegian title, Gjengangere, means "a thing that walks again", rather than the appearance of a soul of a dead person.

But "Againwalkers" is an ungainly title and the alternative "Revenants" is both awkward and French. Ghosts has a poetic resonance to the English ear. I wrote a version of Ghosts six years ago when I was waiting for a film to be financed and was all too aware of the insidious virus of boredom.

The producer, Sonia Friedman, commissioned it with a view to presenting it in the West End.The characters in Ghosts are trapped. Social obligations, class restrictions, religion, and family have them all in a vice grip. The main character, Mrs. Alving, is trapped by her own hang-ups.

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Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen