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Ghosts (Plays for Performance Series) Paperback – October 1, 1990

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Meyer's translations of Ibsen are a major fact in one's general sense of post-war drama. Their vital pace, their unforced insistence on the poetic centre of Ibsen's genius, have beaten academic versions from the field. (The New Statesman) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English
Original Language: Norwegian --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Plays for Performance Series
  • Paperback: 100 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee (October 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 092958743X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0929587431
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,594,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
Although Henrik Ibsen is the first great modern dramatist, his play "Ghosts" ("Gengangere") bears a strong similarity to ancient Greek drama, where the "tragic flaw" of the protagonist lives on in his children. However, in this story the curse on the Alving family has a medical basis. Published in 1881 but not performed until the next year because of its controversial subject matter, "Ghosts" deals with the impact of congenital venereal disease on a family. "Ghosts" strongly reflects Ibsen's desire to attack hypocrisy and conventional morality and caused even more of a furor that his previous drama, "A Doll's House."
Helen Alving is building an orphanage as a memorial to her late husband and the night before the dedication she confesses to her old friend Parson Manders that her husband had been a "degenerate," and she is building the orphanage using her husband's "dirty" money so only her own money will pass on to her son, Oswald, who has just returned from living abroad. But then Oswald confesses he has a debilitating, incurable disease that the doctors believe was inherited. Even from beyond the grave, the "ghost" of Captain Alving ruins the life of his family. Mrs. Alving has to confess her husband's past to their son, destroying the young man's idealized view of his father. Knowing he is dying, Oswald wants to seduce the maid, Regina, so that when he enters the next stage of the disease she will give him poison. Oswald does not care that Regina is really his half-sister, and in the end it will be his mother's decision whether or not to give her son the poison when Oswald begins to have his attack.
The ending of the play constitutes a Rorschach test for the audience, with Ibsen refusing to let them off the hook.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 31, 1997
Format: Paperback
I read "Ghosts" by Henrik Ibsen as part of a college assignment. At first I thought it was really easy to understand - the language was really simple compared to Shakespeare etc. But once I got down to analysing it, I found it really difficult. The ending is ambiguous and the characters are all a little disturbed. "ghosts" is about the past and its effect on the present. it also incorporates such complex themes as euthenaisia, incest and family secrets. if you can understand the complexity of the text, and make some attempt at understanding the ending, "Ghosts" is a pretty good read and is actually quite interesting to analyse.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"As snug as a yolk in an egg" meaning "being comfortable in a house" is an example of beautiful expressions used by the venerable and brilliant playwright Henrik Ibsen. Ghosts was highly controversial during Ibsen's time because of the disturbing themes in this edgy play. Themes like cohabitation, although common as garden variety vegetables today in Norway, challenged the social mores of Norway 150 years ago. Even the then Norwegian king found the play distasteful. The central figure in the play was the poor long suffering Mrs Alvin. Both her late husband and her son were afflicted with the "Benjamin Button's" disease with her son's condition surfacing only when he turned 16, devastating the poor mother. Despite Mrs Alvin's extensive combative measures to shield her son from her husband's sins, we once again witness that man is never master of his destiny. Like hereditary diseases, the sins of the fathers will be felt by the children and their children.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Israel Drazin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 21, 2010
The Norwegian title of this famous and now highly extolled play could be translated "That which returns," suggesting that the consequences of an evil deed is another evil deed. Written in 1881, Ibsen's contemporaries considered it a terrible and offensive morality play that was indecent, scandalous, morbid, and filthy. It spoke of subjects - sex without marriage, adultery, syphilis, suicide, and marriage of siblings - that shouldn't be mentioned publically. One figure in the play is a minister who takes the Christian moral position of the time and makes statements and performs acts that reflect this belief, but they result in harm to others. He is certain, for example, that God protects good people and harms those who are evil; therefore it is irreligious to protect a building with insurance. He insists upon the sanctity of marriage and that husband and wife should stay together even if the husband mistreats his wife and has repeated adulterous relationships.
This story is about a widow who suffered from such an abusive husband. She needs to send her son from home so that he would not be affected by his father's deeds. The son has syphilis, which he acquired at birth because of his father's acts. The son wants to marry a girl who, unknown to him, is one of the illegitimate daughters of his father, his half sister. Thus on the tenth anniversary of her husband's death when her son comes home and reveals his disease and intention to marry, the wife is revisited with her husband's ghost.
Will she remain silent, ignore the dictates of her church, and allow her son, who is deathly ill, to have happiness? What effects did his father's improper behavior have upon her son other than the syphilis? Health aside, has his life been ruined?
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