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Four Major Plays: A Doll's House, Ghosts, Hedda Gabler, The Master Builder (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – July 9, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0192833877 ISBN-10: 0192833871 Edition: New edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New edition edition (July 9, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192833871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192833877
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 4.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #701,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"A very well done introduction, together with a compact and convenient collection of plays."--Jan Gorak, University of Denver


"James McFarlane's introduction is exemplary and his translation masterful. A pleasure to read!"--Brice Thompson, University of California, Santa Cruz


"By far the best translation of Ibsen available. Every detail in an Ibsen play is important; every detail and most manners of the Norwegian are accuretly recaptured in these masterly translations."--Simon Williams, University of California, Santa Barbara


"A fine, lively translation of these classics. Also, it is great to have these particular four Ibsen plays in one volume."--Harold J. Baxter, Ph.D., Trinity College


"The McFarlane translation was a pleasant surprise. Having used various translators and editions, I'll stop here, content, well-content with content and format."--Reg Saner, University of Colorado (I just enter 'em)


"These excellent and beautifully rendered plays make accessible to students a variety of themes - late 19th century feminism, the overbearing bourgeois society - at an affordable price."--Barbara B. Davis, Antioch College


Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Norwegian

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Taylor on June 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
James McFarlane's and Jens Arup's translations of Ibsen have long been classics and are arguably the best. Although they were published in England almost forty years ago, they still sound remarkably fresh and will be in print for many years to come.
In "A Doll's House" (1879), Ibsen casts us into the world of Nora Helmer, a young Norwegian housewife and Nordic Madame Bovary. Highlighting the restricted position of women in male-dominated society, the play sparked such an uproar in Scandinavia when it appeared that "many a social invitation during that winter bore the words: 'You are requested not to mention Ibsen's Doll's House!'" In fact, Hedwig Niemann-Raabe, the actress who was to play Nora on tour in Germany, was so appalled at the ending of this play -- at this female "monster" -- that she demanded Ibsen write an alternative one in German, which he did (a "barbaric outrage", in his words). McFarlane has appended this German-language ending (and a translation in English).
Based on the theme, "The sins of the fathers shall be visited on the children," "Ghosts" (1881) is one of Ibsen's most riveting plays. Like "A Doll's House", it, too, was denounced on its début ("crapulous stuff", "an open drain", one London reviewer called it -- certainly a Victorian exaggeration). As in most of his plays, Ibsen probes the hypocrisies of patriarchal society, which he deems to be rotten at its core, and stultifying provincial life ("Doesn't the sun ever shine here?"). Typically, he also casts women in a favorable light.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Biblibio VINE VOICE on July 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
Rather predictably, the first play offered here is "A Doll's House", the most famous of Ibsen's works. Strangely enough, this ended up NOT being my favorite of the four plays provided in this small collection, but I'll get to that in a moment. Next we have "Ghosts", "Hedda Gabler", and finally "The Master Builder".

"A Doll's House", 86 pages long, is also provided here with the alternate German ending. The ending was deemed so scandalous that Ibsen was forced to write up another ending, in which things go slightly differently. "A Doll's House", a play about a woman who rather does the unthinkable (in that time, at least) to help her husband and then once again to herself, is remarkably interesting. Ibsen plays are generally extremely fun to analyze, simply because there's always something there. Nobody would read dull plays, after all. The alternate ending provided is actually the most interesting part of all. It shows us what the impact of this play was on society at the time that it came out. Perhaps we find these things somewhat more "normal" (though they're actually not, and are still considered rather scandalous) and acceptable, so this ending really reminds us of WHY this play was so impressive and WHY Ibsen was such a strange character for his time. An intriguing play, though not my favorite.

No, that falls to "Ghosts". A play that once again touches on difficult subjects that are most intriguing, "Ghosts" chilled me from beginning to end. It was a more interesting play, overall, because it seemed to me more human. That's not to say that "A Doll's House" wasn't human (it definitely is), but there was something about "Ghosts" that touched me more than the other plays.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Berenice Melchor on October 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dolls House is a reminder of Breaking Bad television series, except with switch on the protagonist. good for wanting to hear about the ignorant yet caring and oppressed wife.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Svenson on January 9, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
it was an older book, but it was in good shape. good plays too.
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