Henrik Ibsen.

The works of Henrik Ibsen online

. (page 1 of 14)
Online LibraryHenrik IbsenThe works of Henrik Ibsen → online text (page 1 of 14)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project
to make the world's books discoverable online.

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover.

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the
publisher to a library and finally to you.

Usage guidelines

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for
personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it.

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About Google Book Search

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web

at http : //books . google . com/|



<<v



X






"AVoi^O^-




Google



Digitized



by Google



Digitized



by Google



Digitized



by Google



Digitized



by Google






Digitized



by Google



This Edition is limited to 2$6 copies
printed on Ruisdael hand-nuule paper.



Digitized



by Google



THE WORKS OF
HENRIK IBSEN



THE VIKING EDITION

VOLUME

VIII



Digitized



by Google



Digitized



by Google



Digitized



by Google




Digitized



by Google



Digitized



by Google



Iloiirik Ibscii about 1879



Digitized



by Google



HENRIK IBSEN



A DOLL'S HOUSE
GHOSTS

WITH INTBODUCnONB BT

WILLIAM ARCHER



NEW YORK
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
1911



Digitized



by Google



Capyrit^ 1911, by Charles Scribnar^B Sona



Digitized



by Google



CONTENTS

PAOB
INTBODUCnON TO '^A DOLL'b HOUSE " .... 3

"a doll*8 house" . . • * 28

Tnadfttod by Wzuiam Aschbb

intboducnox to " ghosts " 195

"ghosts" 807

Tnuwlated by Wiluam Abcbsb



Digitized



by Google



Digitized



by Google



ILLUSTRATIONS



HENBiK IB8EX ABOUT 1879 FrofUMpiece

FAcma PAOB
FBU HBNNINQS AS NORA IN ''a DOLL'b HOUBB" • 92

HERB JEBNDOBFF AS DB. BANK IN ^'a DOLL's

house'* 184

M. OBIJCNEFF AS OSWALD ALYING AND MME. NAZI-

MOYA AS BEOINA EN08TBAND IN '' GHOSTS '* . 806



Digitized



by Google



Digitized



by Google



A DOLL'S HOUSE



Digitized



by Google



Digitized



by Google



A DOLL'S HOUSE
INTRODUCTION*

On June 27, 1879, Ibsen wrote from Rome to Marcus
Grdnvold: *'It is now rather hot in Rome, so in about a
week we are going to Amalfi, which, being close to the
sea, is cooler, and offers opportunity for bathing. I in-
tend to complete there a new dramatic work on which I
am now engaged." From Amalfi, on September 20, he
wrote to John Paulsen: "A new dramatic work, which I
have just completed, has occupied so much of my time
during these last months that I have had absolutely none
to spare for answering letters." This '*new dramatic
work" was Et Dvkkehjem^ which was published in Co-
penhagen, December 4, 1879. Dr. Greorge Brandes has
given some account of the episode in real life which sug-
gested to Ibsen the plot of this play; but the real Nora,
it appears, committed forgery, not to save her husband's
life, but to redecorate her house. The impulse received
from this incident must have been trifling. It is much
more to the purpose to remember that the character and
situation of Nora had been clearly foreshadowed, ten
years earlier, in the figure of Selma in The League of
Youih.

Of A DdtPe House we find in the Literary Remaine a
first brief memorandum, a fairly detailed scenario, a com-

• Copsnight, 1900, by Ctubrki Soribner*! Bom
8



Digitized



by Google



4 A DOLL'S HOUSB

plete draft, in quite actable form, and a few detached frag-
ments of dialogue. These documents put out of court
a theory of my own^ that Ibsen originally intended to
give the play a ''happy ending/* and that the relation
between Eiogstad and Bfrs. linden was devised for that
purpose.
Here is the first memorandum: —

NOTES FOR THE* TRAGEDY OP TO-DAY

Rome, 19/10/78.

^ There are two kinds of spiritual laws» two kinds of

/conscience, one in men and a quite different one in women.

They do not understand each other; but the woman is

judged in practical life according to the man's law, as if

she were not a woman but a man.

The wife in the play finds herself at last entirely at sea
as to what is right and what wrong; natural feeling on
the one side, and belief in authority on the other, leave her
in utter bewilderment.

A woman cannot be herself in the society of to-day,
which is exclusively a masculine society, with laws writ-
ten by men, and with accusers and judges who judge
feminine conduct from the masculine standpoint.

She has committed forgery, and it is her pride; for she
did it for love of her husband, and to save his life. But
this husband,full of everyday rectitude, stands on the basis
of the law and r^;ards the matter with a masculine eye.

'Stated in the FortnighOy Rmnew, July 190% and repeated in the
first edition of this Introduction.

*The ddbiite artide does not, I think, inqsly that Ibsen evnr in-
tended this to be the title of the play, but merely that the notes
refer to "the" tngedy of oontemporary life which he has had for
some time in his mind.



Digitized



by Google



INTRODUCTION 5

Soul-struggles. Oppressed and bewOdered by belief in
authoritylcAie loses her faith in her own moral right and
ability to bnng up her children. Bitterness^ A mother
in the society of to-day, like certain insects, (ought to) go
away and die when die has done her duty towards the
continuance of the species. Love of life, of home, of
husband and children and kin. Now and then a woman-
like shaking off of cares. Then a sudden return of ap-
prehension and dread. She must bear it all alone. The
catastrophe approaches, inexorably, inevitably. Despair,
struggle, and disaster.

In reading Ibsen*s statement of the conflict he meant
to portray between the male and female conscience, one
cannot but feel that he somewhat shirked the issue in
making Nora's crime a formal rather than a real one.
She had no intention of defrauding Krogstad ; and though
it is lui interesting point of casuistry to determine whether,
under the stated drcumstances, she had a moral right to
nga her father's name, opinion on the point would
scarcely be divided along the line of sex. One feek that,
in order to illustrate the ''two kinds of conscience," Ib-
sen ought to have made his play turn upon some point of
conduct (if such there be) which would sharply divide
masculine from feminine sympathies. The fact that
such a point would be extremely hard to find seems to
cast doubt on the ultimate validity of the thesis. If, for
instance, Nora had deliberately stolen the money from
Krogstad, with no intention of repaying it, that would
certainly have revealed a great gulf between her morality
and Helmer's; but would any considerable number of
her sex have sympathised with her? I am not denying



Digitized



by Google



6 A DOLL'S HOUSE

a marked difference between the average man and the
average woman in the development of such character-
istics as the sense of justice; but I doubt whether, when
women have their full share in l^islation, the laws re-
lating to forgery will be seriously altered.

A parallel-text edition of the provisional and the final
forms of A DolTs House would be intensely interesting.
For the present, I can note only a few of the most salient
differences between the two versions.

Helmer is at first called '*Stenboig";^ it is not till the
scene with Krogstad in the second act that the name Hel-
mer makes its first appearance. Ibsen was constantly
changing his characters' names in the course of composi-
tion — trying them on, as it were, until he found one that
was a perfect fit.

The first scene, down to the entrance of Mrs. Linden,
though it contains all that is necessary for the mere de-
velopment of the plot, runs to only twenty-three speeches,
as compared with eighty-one in the completed text. The
business of the macaroons is not even indicated; there
is none of the charming talk about the Christmas-tree
and the children's presents; no request on Nora's part
that her present may take the form of money, no indica-
tion on Helmer's part that he r^^ards her supposed ex-
travagance as an inheritance from her father. Helmer
knows that she toils at copying far into the night in order
to earn a few crowns, though of course he has no suspicion
as to how she employs the money. Ibsen evidently felt
it inconsistent with his character that he should permit

^ Tliis name seems to have haunted Ibsen. It was also the origi-
nal name of Stenqgfad in Thi League of YotUh,



Digitized



by Google



INTRODUCTION 7

this, 80 in the completed version we learn that Nora, in
order to do her copyings locked herself in under the pre-
text of making decorations for the Christmas-tree, and,
when no result appeared, declared that the cat had de-
stroyed her handiwork. The first version, in short, b
like a stained glass window seen from without, the sec-
ond like the same window seen from within.

The long scene between Nora and Mrs. Linden is more
fully worked out, though many small touches of character
are lacking, such as Nora's remark that some day u^hen
Torvald is not so much in love with me as he is now/'
she may tell him the great secret of how she saved his life.
It is notable throughout that neither Helmer's sestheticism
nor the sensual element in his relation to Nora is nearly so
much emphasised as in the completed play; while Nora's
tendency to small fibbing — ^that vice of the unf ree — b al-
most an afterthought. In the first appearance of Eiog-
stad, and the indication of his old acquaintance with Mrs.
linden, many small adjustments have been made, all
strikingly for the better. The first scene with Dr. Bank,
— ori^naDy called Dr. Hank — ^has been almost entirely re-
written. There is in the draft no indication of the doc-
tor's ill-health or of his pessimism; it seems as though
he had at first been designed as a mere confidant or rai-
ionneur. This is how he talks: —

Hank. Hallo! what's this? A new carpet? I con-
gratulate you ! Now take, for example, a handsome car-
pet like this; is it a luxury ? I say it isn't. Such a car-
pet is a paying investment; with it underfoot, one has
higher, subUer thoughts, and finer feelings, than when one
moves over cold, creaking planks in a comfortless room.



Digitized



by Google



8 A DOLL'S HOUSE

Especially where there are children in the house. The
race ennobles itself in a beautiful environment.

Nora. Oh» how often I have felt the same, but could
never express it

Hank. No» I dare say not. It is an observation in
spiritual statistics — a science as yet very little cultivated.

As to Krogstad, the doctor remarks: —

If Eiogstad's home had been, so to speak, on the sunny
side of life, with all the spiritual windows opening towards
the light, ... I dare say he might have been a decent
enough fellow, like the rest of us.

Mbs. Linden. You mean that he is not. . . . ?

Hank. He cannot be. His marriage was not of the
kind to make it possible. An unhappy marriage, Mrs.
Linden, is like small-pox: it scars the soul.

Nora. And what does a happy marriage do ?

Hank. It is like a ''cure'* at the baths; it expeb all
peccant humours, and makes all that is good and fine in
a man grow and flouridb.

It is notable that we find in this scene nothing of Nora's
glee on learning that Krogstad is now dependent on her
husband; that fine touch of dramatic irony was an after-
thought. After Helmer's entrance, the talk is very differ-
ent in the original version. He remarks upon the painful
interview he has just had with Krogstad, whom he is
forced to dismiss from the bank; Nora, in a mild way,
pleads for him; and the doctor, in the name of the sur-
vival of the fittest,^ denounces humanitarian sentimen-

1 It is noteworthy that Darwin's two great books were translated
into Danish very shortly before Ibsen began to work at A DoU'm



Digitized



by Google



INTRODUCTION »

talitj, and then goes off to do his best to save a patient
who» he confesses, would be much better dead. This
discussion of the Krogstad question before Nora has
learnt how vital it is to her, manifestly discounts the ef-
fect of the scenes which are to follow: and Ibsen, on re-
vioon, did away with it entirely.

Nora's romp with the children, interrupted by the en-
trance of Krogstad, stands very much as in the final ver-
sion; and in the scene with Krogstad there is no essen-
tial change. One detail is worth noting, as an instance
of the art of working up an effect lu the first version,
when Krogstad says, "Mrs. Stenborg, you must see to it
that I keep my place in the bank,*' Nora replies: "I?
How can you think that I have any such influence with
my husband?*' — a natural but not specially effective re-
mark. But in the final version she has begun the scene
by boastii^ to Krogstad of her influence, and telling him
that pe<^le in a subordinate position ought to be careful
how th^ offend such influential persons as herself; so
that her subsequent denial that he has any influence be-
comes a notable dramatic effect.

The final scene of the act, between Nora and Helmer,
is not materially altered in the final version; but the first
version contains no hint of the business of decorating the
Christmas-tree or of Nora's wheedling Helmer by pre-
tending to need his aid in devising her costume for the
fancy dress ball. Indeed, this ball has not yet entered
Ibsen's mind. He thinks of it first as a children's party in
the flat overhead, to which Helmer's family are invited.

In the apemng scene of the second act there are one or
two traits that might perhaps have been preserved, sudi



Digitized



by Google



10 A DOLL'S HOUSE

as Nora's prayer: ''(Mi, God! Oh» God! do something
to Torvald's mind to prevent him from enraging that
terrible man! Oh, God! Oh, God! I have three lit-
tle children! Do it for my children's sake." Very nat-
ural and touching, too, is her exclamation, ''Oh, how
glorious it would be if I could only wake up, and come to
my senses, and cry, 'It was a dream! It was a dream!' "
A week, by the way, has passed, instead of a single ni^t,
as in the finished play; and Nora has been wearing her-
self out by going to parties every evening. Helmer enters
immediately on the nurse's exit; there is no scene with
Mrs. Linden in which she remonstrates with Nora for
having (as she thinks) borrowed money from Dr. Bank,
and so suggests to her the idea of applying to him for aid.
In the scene with Helmer, we miss, among many other
characteristic traits, his confession that the ultimate
reason why he cannot keep Krogstad in the bank b that
Krogstad, an old schoolfellow, is so tactless as to tutotfer
him. There is a curious little touch in the passage where
Hdmer draws a contrast between his own strict rectitude
and the doubtful character of Nora's father. "I can
give you proof of it," he says. " I never cared to mention
it before — ^but the twelve hundred dollars he gave you
when you were set on going to Italy he never entered in
his books: we have been quite unable to discover where
he got them from." When Dr. Bank enters, he speaks
to Helmer and Nora together of his failing health; it is
an enormous improvement which transfers this passage,
in a carefully polished form, to his scene with Nora alone.
That scene, in the draft, is almost insignificant. It con-
sists mainly of somewhat melodraioatic forecasts of dis-



Digitized



by Google



INTEODUCTION 11

aster on Nora's part, and the doctor's alarm as to her
health. Of the famous silk-stocking scene — that invalu-
able sidelight on Nora's rdation with Helmer there is not
a trace. There is no hint of Nora's appeal to Bank for
help, nipped in the bud by his declaration of love for her.
All these elements we find in a second draft of the scene
which has been preserved. In this second draft. Rank
says, '* Helmer himself might quite well know every
thought I have ever had of you; he shall know when I
am gone." It might have been better, so far as England
b concerned, if Ibsen had retained this speech; it might
have prevented much critical misunder^anding of a per-
fectly harmless and really beautiful episode.

Between the scene with Bank and the scene with Krog-
stad there intervenes, in the draft, a discussion between
Nora and Mrs. linden, containing this curious passage: —

Nora. When an unhappy wife is separated from her
husband she is not allowed to keq> her children ? Is that
really so?

Mbs. Lindsn. Yes, I think so. That's to say, if she
is guilty.

NoBA. Oh, guilty, guilty; what does it mean to be
guilty ? Has a wife no right to love her husband ?

Mbs. Lindek. Yes, precisely, her husband — and him
only.

Nora. Why, of course; who was thinking of any-
thing else ? But that law is unjust, Kristina. You can
see clearly that it is the men that have made it.

Mbs. Linden. Aha — so you have begun to take up
the woman question ?

NoBA. No, I don't care a bit about it.



Digitized



by Google



18 A DOLL'S HOUSE

The acene with Erogstad is essentially the same as in
the final fonn, though sharpened, so to speak, at many
points. The question of suicide was originally discussed
in a somewhat melodramatic tone: —

NoBA* I have been thinking of nothing else all these



Kroostad. Perhaps. But how to do it? Poison?
Not so easy to get hold of. Shooting? It needs some
skill, Mrs. Helmer. Hanging ? Bah— there's something
ugly in that. . • •

Nora. Do you hear that rushing sound ?

EjtooBTAD. The river? Yes, of course you have
thought of that. But you haven't pictured the thing to
yourself.

And he proceeds to do so for her. After he has gone,
leaving the letter in the box, Helmer and Rank enter, and
Nora implores Helmer to do no work till New Year's
Day (the next day) b over. He agrees, but says, ''I will
just see if any letters have come"; whereupon she rushes
to the piano and strikes a few chords. He stops to lis-
ten, and she sits down and plays and sings Anitra's song
from Feet OynL When Mrs. Linden presently enters,
Nora makes her take her place at the piano, drapes a
shawl ajround her, and dances Anitra's dance. It must
be owned that Ibsen has immensely improved this very
strained and arbitrary incident by devising the fancy
dress ball and the necessity of rehearsing the tarantella
for it; but at the best it remains a piece of theatricalism.
As a study in technique, the re-handling of the last act
is immensely interesting* At the beginning, in the earlier



Digitized



by Google



INTRODUCTION 13

form, Nora rushes down from the children's pariy over-
head, and takes a significant farewell of Mrs. linden,
whom she finds awaiting her. Helmer almost forces h^
to return to the party; and thus the stage is cleared for
the scene between Mrs. Linden and Krogstad, which, in
the final version, opens the act. Then Nora enters with
the two elder children, whom she sends to bed. Helmer
immediately follows, and on his heels Dr. Rank, who an-
nounces in plain terms that his disease has entered on its
last stage, that he is going home to die, and that he will not
have Helmer or any one else hanging around his sick-
room. In the final version, he says all this to Nora alone
in the second act; while in the last act, coming in upon
Helmer flushed with wine,, and Nora pale and trembling
in her masquerade dress, he*has a parting scene with them«
the significance of which she alone understands. In the
earlier version. Rank has several long and heavy speeches
in place of the light, swift dialogue of the final form,
with its different significance for Helmer and for Nora.
There is no trace of the wonderful passage which precedes
Rank's exit. To compare the draft with the finished
scene is to see a perfect instance of the transmutatimi of
dramatic prose into dramatic poetiy.

There is in the draft no indication of Helmer's being
warmed with wine, or of the excitement of the senses
which gives the final touch of tragedy to Nora's despair.
The process of the action is practicaUy the same in both
versions; but everywhere in the final form a sharper edge
is given to things. One littie touch is very significant.
In the draft, when Helmer has read the letter with which
Kiogsiayd returns the forged bill, he cries, ** You are saved.



Digitized



by Google



U A DOLL'S HOUSE

Nora» you are saved!'' In the reviaioii, Ibsen craelly
altered this into, " I am sayed» Nora, I am saved ! " In the
final scene, where Nora is telling Helmer how she expected
him, when the revelation came, to take all the guilt upon
himself, we look in vain, in the first draft, for this pas-
sage:—

Helmer. I would gladly work for you night and day,
Nora — ^bear sorrow and want for your sake. But no
man sacrifices his honour, even for one he loves.

Nora. Millions of women have done so.

This, then, was an afterthought: was there ever a more
brilliant one ?

It is with A DolTs Hotue that Ibsen enters upon his
kingdom as a world-poet. He had done greater work in
the past, and he was to do greater work in the future; but
this was the play which was destined to carry his name be-
yond the limits of Scandinavia, and even of Grermany, to
the remotest regions of civilisation. Here the Fates were
not altogether kind to him. The fact that for many years
he was known to thousands of people solely as the author
of A DoWs House and its successor, OhosU, was largely
responsible for the extravagant misconceptions of his
genius and character which prevailed during the last
decade of the nineteenth century, and are not yet entirely
extin<;t. In these plays he seemed to be delivering a direct
assault on marriage, from the standpoint of feminine indi-
vidualism; wherefore he was taken to be a preacher and
pamphleteer rather than a poet. In these plays, and in
these only, he made phyncal disease a coniriderable factor



Digitized



by Google



INTEODUCnON 15

in tlie action; whence it was concluded that he had a mor-
iMd predilection for ** nauseous '* subjects. In these plajs
he laid special and perhaps disproportionate stress on the
influ^ice of heredity; whence he was believed to be pos-
sessed by a monomania on the point. In these plays,
finally, he was trying to act the ess^itially uncongenial
part of the prosaic realist. The effort broke down at


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Online LibraryHenrik IbsenThe works of Henrik Ibsen → online text (page 1 of 14)