Henrik Ibsen wrote all his plays in a language which was understood by only a few million people. Today, a majority of readers and audiences around the world probably become acquainted with his work through the medium of English. It is all the more important that translations should faithfully re-embody the master-dramatist.s intentions, not only with regard to the plain meaning of words, but also considering such things as social ambience, tonal qualities and background reference.
The present book offers a close examination from a Norwegian critic.s point of view of all extant and meritorious English translations of two widely known plays, different in kind. It adresses itself to readers with an interest in Ibsen, but with little or no knowledge in Norwegian, as well as to translators and others with a competence in that language. It is a remedial undertaking in that it aims to alert readers to imperfect renderings of the original Norwegian texts, and to possible improvements. It incidentally also offers more general interpretations of certain salient aspcects of the two plays.