Enemy of the People

ISBN-10: 0140481400
ISBN-13: 9780140481402
Edition: N/A
List price: $14.00 Buy it from $1.15
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Description: "In one of his most provocative essays, Ibsen offers a rebuke to the Victorian notion of community as well as to the blessings of democracy. His An Enemy of the People creates a situation in which one must stand alone to face the forces allied  More...

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Book details

List price: $14.00
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/17/1977
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 128
Size: 5.00" wide x 7.50" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.198
Language: English

"In one of his most provocative essays, Ibsen offers a rebuke to the Victorian notion of community as well as to the blessings of democracy. His An Enemy of the People creates a situation in which one must stand alone to face the forces allied against him." "In a coastal town, a community-minded physician has promoted the development of public baths in order to attract tourists. When he discovers that the water supply for the baths is contaminated and attempts to publicize the failing and correct it, he encounters political cowards, sold-out journalists, shortsighted armchair economists, and a benighted citizenry. His own principled idealism exacerbates the conflict, and after a public speech that turns into a tirade, the townsfolk label him an enemy of the people. He and his family are all but driven out of the town he was trying to save." "Nicholas Rudall's translations of Ibsen have brought a fresh perspective to the American theatre. His new rendering of An Enemy of the People makes the play more speakable, more American in its speech patterns, and more reflective of the levels of diction required by the class, education, and affectations of the characters."--BOOK JACKET.

Henrik Ibsen was born of well-to-do parents at Skien, a small Norwegian coastal town, on March 20, 1828. In 1836 his father went bankrupt, and the family was reduced to near poverty. At the age of fifteen, he was apprenticed to an apothecary in Grimstad. In 1850 Ibsen ventured to Christiania --present-day Oslo --as a student, with the hope of becoming a doctor. On the strength of his first two plays he was appointed "theater-poet" to the new Bergen National Theater, where he wrote five conventional romantic and historical dramas and absorbed the elements of his craft. In 1857 he was called to the directorship of the financially unsound Christiania Norwegian Theater, which failed in 1862. In 1864, exhausted and enraged by the frustration of his efforts toward a national drama and theater, he quit Norway for what became twenty-seven years of voluntary exile abroad. In Italy he wrote the volcanic Brand (1866), which made his reputation and secured him a poet's stipend from the government. Its companion piece, the phantasmagoric Peer Gynt, followed in 1867, then the immense double play, Emperor and Galilean (1873), expressing his philosophy of civilization. Meanwhile, having moved to Germany, Ibsen had been searching for a new style. With The Pillars of Society he found it; this became the first of twelve plays, appearing at two-year intervals, that confirmed his international standing as the foremost dramatist of his age. In 1900 Ibsen suffered the first of several strokes that incapacitated him. He died in Oslo on May 23, 1906.

The son of a well-to-do New York Jewish family, Miller graduated from high school and then went to work in a warehouse. He was born on October 17, 1915, in Harlem, New York City. His plays have been called "political," but he considers the areas of literature and politics to be quite separate and has said, "The only sure and valid aim---speaking of art as a weapon---is the humanizing of man." The recurring theme of all his plays is the relationship between a man's identity and the image that society demands of him. After two years, he entered the University of Michigan, where he soon started writing plays. All My Sons (1947), a Broadway success that won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1947, tells the story of a son, home from the war, who learns that his brother's death was due to defective airplane parts turned out by their profiteering father. Death of a Salesman (1949), Miller's experimental yet classical American tragedy, received both the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1949. It is a poignant statement of a man facing himself and his failure. In The Crucible (1953), a play about bigotry in the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692, Miller brings into focus the social tragedy of a society gone mad, as well as the agony of a heroic individual. The play was generally considered to be a comment on the McCarthyism of its time. Miller himself appeared before the Congressional Un-American Activities Committee and steadfastly refused to involve his friends and associates when questioned about them. His screenplay for The Misfits (1961), from his short story, was written for his second wife, actress Marilyn Monroe (see Vol. 3); After the Fall (1964) has clear autobiographical overtones and involves the story of this ill-fated marriage as well as further dealing with Miller's experiences with McCarthyism. In the one-act Incident at Vichy (1964), a group of men are picked off the streets one morning during the Nazi occupation of France. The Price (1968) is a psychological drama concerning two brothers, one a police officer, one a wealthy surgeon, whose long-standing conflict is explored over the disposal of their father's furniture. The Creation of the World and Other Business (1973) is a retelling of the story of Genesis, attempted as a comedy. The American Clock (1980) explores the impact of the Depression on the nation and its individual citizens. Among Miller's most recent works is Danger: Memory! (1987), a study of two elderly friends. During the 1980s, almost all of Miller's plays were given major British revivals, and the playwright's work has been more popular in Britain than in the United States of late. Miller died of heart failure after a battle against cancer, pneumonia and congestive heart disease at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut. He was 89 years old.

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