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342 books of Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House opens as Nora Helmer returns from Christmas shopping. Her husband Torvald comes out of his study to tease with her. They discuss how their finances will improve now that Torvald has a new job as the vice president of the bank. Torvald expresses his horror of debt. Nora behaves childishly, and he enjoys treating her like a child to be instructed and indulged. Soon Christine Linde, an old friend of Nora's, arrives at their home. She is a childless widow who is moving back to the city. Her husband left her no money, so she has tried different kinds of work and now hopes to find some work that is not too strenuous. Nora confides to Christine that she once secretly borrowed money from a disgraced lawyer, Nils Krogstad, to save Torvald's life when he was very ill, but she has not told him in order to protect his pride. She told everyone that the money came from her father, who died at about the same time. She has been repaying the debt from her housekeeping budget and . . .

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From Munich, on June 29, 1890, Ibsen wrote to the Swedish poet, Count Carl Soilsky: "Our intention has all along been to spend the summer in the Tyrol again. But circumstances are against our doing so. I am at present engaged upon a new dramatic work, which for several reasons has made very slow progress, and I do not leave Munich until I can take with me the completed first draft. There is little or no prospect of my being able to complete it in July.

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Helmer. And what is in this parcel? Nora [crying out]. No, no! you mustn't see that until this evening. Helmer. Very well. But now tell me, you extravagant little person, what would you like for yourself? Nora. For myself? Oh, I am sure I don't want anything. Helmer. Yes, but you must. Tell me something reasonable that you would particularly like to have. Nora. No, I really can't think of anything--­unless, Torvald-- Helmer. Well? Nora [playing with his coat buttons, and without raising her eyes to his]. If you really want to give me something, you might--­you might-- Helmer. Well, out with it! Nora [speaking quickly]. You might give me money, Torvald. Only just as much as you can afford; and then one of these days I will buy something with it. Helmer. But, Nora-- Nora. Oh, do! dear Torvald; please, please do! Then I will wrap it up in beautiful gilt paper and hang it on the Christmas Tree. Wouldn't that be fun? Helmer. What are little people called that are always wasting money? . . .

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Powerful psychological drama (1881) exposes hypocrisy of social conventions and society's moral codes. Mrs. Helen Alving is haunted by her husband's infidelities and the disease he has passed to their son. Ultimately, she is forced to acknowledge the "ghosts" that have kept her from living "just for the joy of life.­"

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Among the masterpieces of world literature, this great verse drama by Norway's famed playwright humorously yet profoundly explores the virtues, vices, and follies common to all humanity as it follows the roguish life of a charming but arrogant young man. A literary delight since it was first published in 1875.

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DR. STOCKMANN'S sitting-­room. It is evening. The room is plainly but neatly appointed and furnished. In the right-­hand wall are two doors; the farther leads out to the hall, the nearer to the doctor's study. In the left-­hand wall, opposite the door leading to the hall, is a door leading to the other rooms occupied by the family. In the middle of the same wall stands the stove, and, further forward, a couch with a looking-­glass hanging over it and an oval table in front of it. On the table, a lighted lamp, with a lampshade. At the back of the room, an open door leads to the dining-­room. BILLING is seen sitting at the dining table, on which a lamp is burning. He has a napkin tucked under his chin, and MRS. STOCKMANN is standing by the table handing him a large plate-­full of roast beef. The other places at the table are empty, and the table somewhat in disorder, evidently a meal having recently been finished.­)

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With The Master Builder - or Master Builder Solness, as the title runs in the original - we enter upon the final stage in Ibsen's career. You are essentially right, the poet wrote to Count Prozor in March 1900, when you say that the series which closes with the Epilogue (When We Dead Awaken) began with Master Builder Solness.

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Karsten Bernick is the dominant businessman in a small coastal town in Norway, with interests in shipping and shipbuilding in a long-­established family firm. Now he is planning his most ambitious project yet, backing a railway which will connect the town to the main line and open a fertile valley which he has been secretly buying up.

Suddenly his past explodes on him. Johan T?­nnesen, his wife's younger brother comes back from America to the town he ran away from 15 years ago. At the time it was thought he had run off with money from the Bernick family business and with the urge to avoid scandal because he was having an affair with an actress. But none of this was true. He left town to take the blame for Bernick, who was the one who had actually been having the affair and was nearly caught with the actress. There was no money to take since at the time the Bernick firm had been almost bankrupt.

With T?­nnesen comes his half-­sister Lona (whom Ibsen is said to have modelled after . . .

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Books of Henrik Ibsen