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The collected works of
Henrik Ibsen

Henrik Ibsen



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TBX COLLECTED WOBES OF

HENRIK IBSEN



VOLUME I

LADY INGEB OF OSTRAT

THE FEAST AT SOLHOUG

LOVE'S COMEDY



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THE COLLECTED WORKS OP

HENBIK IBSEN

CoFTBioBT Edition

VOLUME I

LADY INGER OF OSTRAT

THE FEAST AT SOLHOUG

LOVE'S COMEDY

WITH INTBODUCnONB BT

WILLIAM ARCHER

AND

C. H. HERFORD, Litt.D., M.A.



NEW YORK
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

1928



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COFniGBT, 1911, BY

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS



Printed io the United Statctol



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^f ^ c c



CONTENTS

9kQm

GENERAL PREFACE vil

INTRODUCTION TO "LADY INGER OF OSTrIt" . . S

"lady INGER OF 6BTrAt" 19

Tnus8l«t«d by Chablks Abchbb

INTRODUCTION TO "the FEAST AT SOLHOUG" . • 191

AUTH0R*S PREFACE TO "THE FEAST AT SOLHOUG" . 196

•* THE FEAST AT SOLHOUG " 205

Trmnslated by Wiluam Abchbb and Mabt Mobbibon

INTRODUCTION TO "L0VE*S comedy" 293

"love's COMEDY*' 305

TnuMlatcd by C. H. HBBiomD



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GENERAL PREFACE

The eleven volumes of this edition contain all, save
one, of the dramas which Henrik Ibsen himself admitted
to the canon of his works. The one exception is his
earliest, and very immature, tragedy, CcUHina^ first pub-
lished in 1850, and republished in 1875. This play is
interesting in the light reflected from the poet's later
achievements, but has little or no inherent value. A
great part of its interest lies in the veiy crudities of its
style, which it would be a thankless task to reproduce
in translation. Moreover, the poet impaired even its
biographical value by largely rewriting it before its re-
publication. He did not make it, or attempt to make it,
a better play, but he in some measure corrected its juve-
nility of expression. Which version, then, should a trans-
lator choose ? To go back to the original would seem a
deliberate disr^ard of the poet's wishes; while, on the
other hand, the retouched version is clearly of far in-
ferior interest. It seemed advisable, therefore, to leave
the play alone, so far as this edition was concerned. Still
more clearly did it appear unnecessary to include the
early plays which were never admitted to any edition
prepared by the poet himself. They are four in number.
The Warrior' B Barrow and OlafLiliekrans were included
in a supplementary volume of the Norwegian collected
edition, issued in 1902, when Ibsen's life-work was over.



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X GENERAL PREFACE

The other two — The Ptarmigan ofJtisUdal and St* John*s
Night — were not published till 1909, when they were
included, with an operatic fragment of small account, in
the first volume of the poet's Literary Remains.

With two exceptions, the plays appear in their chron-
ological order. The exceptions are Love*8 C(ymedy^ which
ought by rights to come between The Vikings and The
Pretenders^ and Emperor and Oalileany which ought to
follow The League of YovJth instead of preceding it. The
reasons of convenience which prompted these departures
from the exact order are pretty obvious. It seemed highly
desirable to bring the two Saga plays, if I may so call
them, into one volume; while as for Emperor and Oalilean
it could not have been placed between The Leagve of
Youth and Pillars of Society save by separating its two
parts, and assigning Ccesar^s Apostasy to Volume V.,
The Emperor Jvlian to Volume VI.

For the translations of all the plays in this edition, ex-
cept Love's Comedy and Brandy I am ultimately responsi-
ble, in the sense that I have exercised an unrestricted
right of revision. This means, of course, that, in plays
originally translated by others, the merits of the English
version belong for the most part to the original trans-
lator, while the faults may have been introduced, and
must have been sanctioned, by me. The revision, whether
fortunate or otherwise, has in all cases been very thor-
ough.

In their unrevised form, these translations have met
with a good deal of praise and with some blame. I trust
that the revision has rendered them more praiseworthy,
but I can scarcely hope that it has met all the objections



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GENERAL PREFACE xi

of those critics who have found them blameworthy*
For» in some cases at any rate, these objections proceeded
from theories of the translator's function widely diver-
gent from my own — ^theories of which nothing, probably,
could disabuse the critic's mind, save a little experience
of the difficulties of translating (as distinct from adapt-
ing) dramatic prose. Ibsen is at once extremely easy,
and extremely difficult to translate. It is extremely easy,
in his prose plays, to realise his meaning; it is often ex-
tremely difficult to convey it in natural, colloquial, and
yet not too colloquial, English. He is especially fond of
laying barbed-wire entanglements for the translator's
feet, in the shape of recurrent phrases for which it is ab-
solutely impossible to find an equivalent that will fit in
all the different contexts. But this is only one of many
classes of obstacles which encountered us on almost every
page. I think, indeed, that my collaborators and I may
take it as no small compliment that some of our critics
have apparently not realised the difficulties of our task,
or divined the laborious hours which have often gone to
the turning of a single phrase. And, in not a few cases,
the difficulties have proved sheer impossibilities. I will
dte only one instance. Writing of The Master Builder ^
a very competent, and indeed generous, critic finds in it
^a curious example of perhaps inevitable inadequacy.
. . . 'Duty! Duty! Duty!' Hilda once exclaims in
a scornful outburst. 'What a short, sharp, stinging
word!' The epithets do not seem specially apt. But
in the original she cries out 'Pligt! Pligt! Pligt!' and
the veiy word stings and snaps." I submit that in this
criticism there is one superfluous word — ^to wit, the "per-



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5di GENERAL PREFACE

haps" which qualifies *' inevitable.'* For the tenn used
by Hilda, and for the idea in her mind» there is only one
possible English equivalent: **Duty/' The actress can
speak it so as more or less to justify Hilda's feeling tow-
ards it; and, for the rest, the audience must "piece out
our imperfections with their thoughts" and assume that
the Norwegian word has rather more of a sting in its
sound. It might be possible, no doubt, to adapt Hilda's
phrase to the Englbh word, and say, '"It sounds like the
swish of a whip-lash," or something to that effect. But
this is a sort of freedom which, rightly or wrongly, I hold
inadmissible. Once grant the right of adaptation, even
in small particulars, and it would be impossible to say
where it should stop. The versions here presented (of
the prose plays, at any rate) are translations, not para-
phrases. If we have ever dropped into paraphrase, it is
a dereliction of principle; and I do not remember an
instance. For stage purposes, no doubt, a little paring
of rough edges is here and there allowable; but even
that, I think, should seldom go beyond the omission of
lines which manifestly lose their force in translation, or
are incomprehensible without a footnote.

In the Introductions to previous editions, I have al-
ways confined myself to the statement of biographical
and historic facts, holding criticism no part of my busi-
ness. Now that Henrik Ibsen has passed away, and his
works have taken a practically uncontested place in
world-literature, this reticence seemed no longer im-
posed upon me. I have consequently made a few critical
remarks on each play, chiefly directed towards tracing
the course of the poet's technical development. Never-



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GENERAL PREFACE xiii

theless, the Introductions are still mainly biographical,
and full advantage has been taken of the stores of new
information contained in Ibsen's Letters, and in the books
and articles about him that have appeared since his
death. I have prefixed to Lady Inger of Ostrii a sketch
of the poet's life down to the date of that play; so that
the Introductions, read in sequence, will be found to form
a pretty full record of a career which, save for frequent
changes of domicile, and the issuing of play after play,
was singularly uneventful.

The Introductions to Lovers Comedy and Brandy as well
as the translations, are entirely the work of Professor
Herford.

A point of typography perhaps deserves remark. The
Norwegian (and German) method of indicating empha-
sis by spacing the letters of a word, thus, has been
adopted in this edition. It is preferable for various rea-
sons to the use of italics. In dramatic work, for one
thing, emphases have sometimes to be indicated so fre-
quently that the peppering of the page with italics would
produce a very ugly effect. But a more important point
is this: the italic fount suggests a stronger emphasis than
the author, as a rule, intends. The spacing of a word,
especially if it be short, will often escape the eye which
does not look very closely; and this is as it should be.
Spacing, as Ibsen employs it, does not generally indicate
any obtrusive stress, but is merely a guide to the reader
in case a doubt should arise in his mind as to which of
two words is intended to be the more emphatic. When
such a doubt occurs, the reader, by looking closely at the
text, will often find in the spacing an indication which



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XIV GENERAL PREFACE

may at first have escaped him. In almost all cases, a
spaced word in the translation represents a spaced word
in the original. I have veiy seldom used spacing to in-
dicate an emphasis peculiar to the English phraseology.
The system was first introduced in 1897, in the transla-
tion of John Oabriel Borkman. It has no longer even the
disadvantage of unfamiliarity, since it has been adopted
by Mr. Bernard Shaw in his printed plays, and, I believe*
by other dramatists.

Just thirty years* have passed since I first put pen to
paper in a translation of Ibsen. In October, 1877, PUr
lars of Society reached me hot from the press; and, hav-
ing devoured it, I dashed off a translation of it in less
than a week. It has since cost me five or six times as
much work in revision as it originally did in transla-
tion. The manuscript was punctually returned to me by
more than one publisher; and something like ten years
elapsed before it slowly dawned on me that the translat-
ing and editing of Ibsen's works was to be one of the
chief labours, as it has certainly been one of the greatest
privileges, of my life. Since 1887 or thereabouts, not
many months have passed in which a considerable por-
tion of my time has not been devoted to acting, in one
form or another, as intermediary between Ibsen and the
English-speaking public. The larger part of the work,
in actual bulk, I have myself done; but I have had in-
valuable aid from many quarters, and not merely from
those fellow-workers who are named in the following
pages as the original translators of certain of the plays.
> Written in 1907.



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GENERAL PREFACE xv

These '^hdpers and servers/' as Solness would say, are
too many to be individually mentioned; but to all of
them, uid chiefly to one who has devoted to the service
of Ibsen a good deal of the hard-won leisure of Indian
official life, I hereby convey my heartfelt thanks.

The task is now ended. Though it has involved not
a little sheer drudgery, it has, on the whole, been of ab-
sorbing interest. And I should have been ungrateful
indeed had I shrunk from drudgery in the cause of an
author who had meant so much to me. I have experienced
no other literary emotion at all comparable to the eager-
ness with which, ever since 1877, I awaited each new
play of Ibsen's, or the excitement with which I tore off
the wrapper of the postal packets in which the little
paper-covered books arrived from Copenhagen. People
who are old enough to remember the appearance of the
monthly parts of David Copperfield or Pendennis may
have some inkling of my sensations; but they were all
the intenser as they recurred at intervals, not of one
month, but of two years. And it was not Ibsen the man
of ideas or doctrines that meant so much to me; it was
Ibsen the pure poet, the creator of men and women, the
searcher of hearts, the weaver of strange webs of destiny.
I can only trust that, by diligence in seeking for the best
interpretation of his thoughts, I have paid some part of
my debt to that great spirit, and to the glorious country
that gave him birth.

William Archer.

P. S. — ^To the present (1911) edition is added a sup-
plementary volume containing all that is of general in*-



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xvi GENERAL PREFACE

teiest in Ibsen's first drafts and sketches for his plays,
from Pillars of Society onwards. These documents
appeared in the Literary Remains (1909) and are now
translated for the first time.



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LADY INGER OF OSTRAt



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LADY INGER OF OSTRAT
INTRODUCTION*

Henrik Johan Ibsen was bom on March 20, lS2Sy at
the little seaport of Skien, situated at the head of a long
fiord on the south coast of Norway. His great-great-
grandfather was a Dane who settled in Bergen about
1720. His great-grandmother, Wenche Dischington, was
the daughter of a Scotchman, who had settled and be-
come naturalised in Norway; and Ibsen himself was
inclined to ascribe some of his characteristics to the
Scottish strain in his blood. Both his grandmother
(Plesner by name) and his mother, Maria Cornelia
Altenburg, were of German descent. It has been said
that there was not a drop of Norwegian blood in Ibsen's
composition; but it is doubtful whether this statement
can be substantiated. Most of his male ancestors were
sailors; but his father, Knud Ibsen, was a merchant.
When Henrik (his first child) was bom, he seems to
have been prosperous, and to have led a very social and
perhaps rather extravagant life. But when the poet was
eight years old, financial disaster overtook the family,
and they had to withdraw to a comparatively small farm-
house on the outskirts of the little town, where they lived
in poverty and retirement.

As a boy, Ibsen appears to have been lacking in ani-
mal spirits and the ordinary childish taste for games.

* Copyright, 1908, by Charles Scribner's Sods.
3



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4 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT

Our chief glimpses of his home life are due to his sister
Hedvig, the only one of his family with whom, in after
years, he maintained any intercourse, and whose name
he gave to one of his most beautiful creations.^ She re-
lates that the only outdoor amusement he cared for was
''building" — in what material does not appear. Among
indoor diversions, that to which he was most addicted
was conjuring, a younger brother serving as his confed-
erate. We also hear of his cutting out fantastically-
dressed figures in paste-board, attaching them to wooden
blocks, and ranging them in groups or tableaux. He
may be said, in short, to have had a toy theatre without
the stage. In all these amusements, it is possible, with
a little goodwill, to divine the coming dramatist — the
constructive faculty, the taste for technical legerdemain
(which made him in his youth so apt a disciple of Scribe),
and the fundamental passion for manipulating fictitious
characters. The education he received was of the most
ordinary, but included a little Latin. The subjects
which chiefly interested him were history and religion.
He showed no special literary proclivities, though a
dream which he narrated in a school composition so
impressed his master that he accused him (much to
the boy's indignation) of having copied it out of some
book.

His chief taste was for drawing, and he was anxious
to become an artist, but his father could not afford to
pay for his training.' At the age of fifteen, therefore,

* See Introduction to The Wild Duck.

*He continued to dabble in painting until he was thirty, or
tfaereabouts.



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INTRODUCTION 5

he had to set about earfling his living, and was ap-
prenticed to an apothecary in Grimstad, a town on the
south-west coast of Norway, between Arendal and Chris-
tianssand. He was here in even narrower social sur-
roundings than at Skien. His birthplace numbered
some 3,000 inhabitants, Grimstad about 800. That he
was contented with his lot cannot be supposed; and the
short, dark, taciturn youth seems to have made an un-
sympathetic and rather uncanny impression upon the
burghers of the little township. His popularity was not
heightened by a talent which he presently developed for
drawing caricatures and writing personal lampoons.
He found, however, two admiring friends in Christopher
Lorentz Due, a custom-house clerk, and a law student
named Ole Schulerud.

The first political event which aroused his interest
and stirred him to literary expression was the French
Revolution of 1848. He himself writes:* "The times
were much disturbed. The February revolution, the
rising in Hungary and elsewhere, the Slesvig War — ^all
this had a strong and ripening e£Fect on my develop-
ment, immature though it remained both then and long
afterwards. I wrote clangorous poems of encourage-
ment to the Magyars, adjuring them, for the sake of
freedom and humanity, not to falter in their righteous
war against 'the tyrants'; and I composed a long series
of sonnets to King Oscar, mainly, so far as I remem-
ber, urging him to set aside all petty considerations,
and march without delay, at the head of his army, to
the assistance of our Danish brothers on the Slesvig
* Preface to the second edition of CatUina, 1875.



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6 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT

frontier." The series of sonnbts» and one of the poems
"To Hungary!*' have been published in the poet's Lit'
erary Remains. About the same time he was reading
for his matriculation examination at Christiania Uni-
versity, where he proposed to study medicine; and it
happened that the Latin books prescribed were Sallust's
Catiline and Cicero's CaHlinarian Orations, "I de-
voured these documents/' says Ibsen, *'and a few months
later my drama [Caiilina] was finished." His friend
Schulerud took it to Christiania, to offer it to the theatre
and to the publishers. By both it was declined. Schule-
rud, however, had it printed at his own expense; and soon
after its appearance, in the early spring of 1850, Ibsen
himself came to Christiania.^

For the most part written in blank verse, CatiUna
towards the close breaks into rhyming trochaic lines of
thirteen and fifteen syllables. It is an extremely youth-
ful production, very interesting from the biographical
point of view, but of small substantive merit. What is
chiefly notable in it, perhaps, is the fact that it already
shows Ibsen occupied with the theme which was to
run through so many of his works — the contrast be-
tween two types of womanhood, one strong and reso-
lute, even to criminality, the other comparatively weak,
clinging, and "feminine" in the conventional sense of
the word.

In Christiania Ibsen shared Schulerud's lodgings, and
his poverty. There is a significant sentence in his pref-

^This is his own statement of the order of events. According
to Halvdan Koht {Samlede Vcerkerj vol. x, p. i) he arrived in Chris-
tiania in March, 1850, and CatUina did not appear until ApriL



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INTRODUCTION 7

ace to the re-written Catilina^ in which he tells how the
bulk of the first edition was sold as waste paper, and
adds: ** In the days immediately following we lacked none
of the first necessities of life.'* He went to a "student-
factory," or, as we should say, a "crammer's," managed
by one Heltberg; and there he fell in with several of the
leading spirits of his generation — notably with Bjomson,
A. O. Vinje, and Jonas Lie. In the early summer of
1850 he wrote a one-act play, KuBmpehoien (The War-
fiords Barrow), entirely in the sentimental and somewhat
verbose manner of the Danish poet OehlenschlSger. It
was accepted by the Christiania Theatre, and performed
three times, but cannot have put much money in the
poet's purse. With Paul Botten-Hansen and A. O. Vinje
he co-operated in the production of a weekly satirical
paper, at first entitled Manden {The Man), but after-
wards AndhrimneTy after the cook of the gods in Val-
halla. To this journal, which lasted only from January
to September, 1851, he contributed, among other things,
a satirical "music-tragedy," entitled Norma, or a Politi-
cian's Love} As the circulation of the paper is said to
have been something under a hundred, it cannot have
paid its contributors very lavishly. About this time, too,
he narrowly escaped arrest on account of some politi-
cal agitation, in which, however, he had not been very
deeply concerned.

Meanwhile a movement had been going forward in
the capital of Western Norway, Bergen, which was to
have a determining influence on Ibsen's destinies.

* The whole three acts are comprised in eight pages of the Literary
Remcdna (vol. i).


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