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Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen
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Ghosts (1881)

by Henrik Ibsen

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (5)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (8)
Showing 5 of 5
bookshelves: radio-3, winter-20132014, play-dramatisation, norway, published-1881, families, lifestyles-deathstyles, medical-eew, incest-agameforallthefamily, slit-yer-wrists-gloomy
Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from December 15 to 16, 2013


BBC Description: Henrik Ibsen's provocative tale of family secrets and lies, in a new version adapted and directed by Richard Eyre and featuring the cast of his recent production for the Almeida Theatre.

Helene Alving, a widow, is delighted that her son has returned home to Norway from his artist's life in Paris. The orphanage founded in her husband's name is about to open with the blessing of the local pastor, but there are family secrets and ghosts of the past beneath the surface of her ordered life which are about to come out to devastating effect.

First staged in 1883, Ibsen's play shocked audiences with its themes of illegitimacy, inherited syphilis, religion and feminism and in Richard Eyre's fast-moving adaptation it retains its original power and energy. This production was first directed by Eyre for the Almeida Theatre in London and opened in September 2013 to great acclaim.

Original sound design, John Leonard

Winner of the Evening Standard Theatre Award 2013 for Best Director
'a masterpiece of compassion' The Times
'a spell-binding production' The Independent
'Richard Eyre's powerfully intimate version of Ibsen's Ghosts is a triumph' The Observer
'Lesley Manville's magnificent performance' The Guardian
'Richard Eyre's fleet and vivid adaptation' The Daily Telegraph.

•Mrs. Helene Alving, a widow
•Osvald Alving, her son, a painter
•Pastor Manders
•Jacob Engstrand, a carpenter
•Regina Engstrand believes she is the daughter of Jacob Engstrand, but is actually Captain Alving's child. She is also Mrs. Alving's maid.
•Captain Alving, never on stage due to being deceased, but is spoken of.

Contrast the above Daily Telegraph comment with their one at the play's debut: "Ibsen's positively abominable play entitled Ghosts....An open drain: a loathsome sore unbandaged; a dirty act done publicly....Gross, almost putrid indecorum....Literary carrion.... Crapulous stuff" - Daily Telegraph

"I picked at the knot and it unravelled."

Hypocrisy at every turn, and all the social taboos of those Victorian times are on display. Would be wonderful to go back in time and watch those middle-class jaws dropping, and palms raised to cheeks. Perhaps this reaction against acknowledging human nature inspired Munch.

6 days left to listen

4* Hedda Gabler
3* A Doll's House
4* Ghosts
4* Peer Gynt
3* A Wild Duck
WL The Master Builder ( )
  mimal | Jan 1, 2014 |
a play about Mrs. Alving a widow,who was accused by Pastor Manders,of failing in providing enough moral guidance to her son Oswald....

MANDERS. Just as you once disowned a wife's duty, so you have since
disowned a mother's.

MRS. ALVING. Ah--!

MANDERS. You have been all your life under the dominion of a
pestilent spirit of self-will. The whole bias of your mind has been
towards insubordination and lawlessness. You have never known how to
endure any bond. Everything that has weighed upon you in life you
have cast away without care or conscience, like a burden you were
free to throw off at will. It did not please you to be a wife any
longer, and you left your husband. You found it troublesome to be a
mother, and you sent your child forth among strangers.

MRS. ALVING. Yes, that is true. I did so.

MANDERS. And thus you have become a stranger to him.

MRS. ALVING. No! no! I am not.


after this conversation,Mrs. Alving was forced to tell the truth that she had kept hidden.that Captain Alving was an awful man who was unfaithful throughout his life....

there are many symbols in this play....
the ghosts which are MRS. ALVING thoughts....lies about the past and her fear to say the truth,that should be told....
Oswald last wish before dying is to see the sun light ,he kept crying out for the sun. which symbolize for the joy of life which he always seeks....
The fire that destroys the orphanage which she was naming after her husband name....that destroyed the whole building,and eliminated all the deception.....

MANDERS. And it is to this man that you raise a memorial?

MRS. ALVING. There you see the power of an evil conscience.

MANDERS. Evil--? What do you mean?

MRS. ALVING. It always seemed to me impossible but that the truth
must come out and be believed. So the Orphanage was to deaden all
rumours and set every doubt at rest. ( )
  ariesblue | Mar 31, 2013 |
Excellently written, dark, controversial at time and now drama about all kinds of unpleasantries that affect peoples lives from 'dissipated lives' to euthanasia and using morphine to commit suicide cos of VD. I will explore Ibsens Ouvre. ( )
  wonderperson | Mar 31, 2013 |
Ghosts takes place over one night at a mansion in Norway. The majority of the story is unveiled in a conversation between the protagonist, Mrs. Alving, and a pastor from a nearby town, Manders. The two are building an orphanage to honor the late Captain Alving, a man Manders believed to have been an honorable man, but who in fact was a scoundrel and a drunk. The history of Alving mirrors and highlights the present predicaments of two others in the play: Engstrand, a carpenter for the orphanage, and Oswald, Captain and Mrs. Alving's son.

The metaphor of ghosts is entirely appropriate as the remnants of the past have a dire effect on the present situation. The truth of the past and the lies told about it are a constant presence in Mrs. Alving's life, and she is overcome by these ghosts daily...as we are all influenced and haunted by our past and our ancestors...except maybe a bit more extreme due to the nature of the Captain's errr...illness.

I chose this play for my Introduction to Literature class for two reasons: one, I had never read it and that is almost a necessity for me in teaching (I really like something new); and two, the critical reaction to the play was one of horror. The play was described as "one of the filthiest things ever written in Scandinavia", "an open drain: a loathsome sore unbandaged", and "unutterably offensive". I just had to find out why. Turns out, there isn't anything a modern reader would find obscene, maybe a bit dirty, but not exactly obscene. And that is perfect for teaching the historical perspective and ideology, so I'm excited.

Thematically, the play stretched the minds of its contemporary audience, promoting joie de vivre and independent thinking while criticizing traditional morays and values. I can't wait to see what my students make of it. ( )
  EclecticEccentric | Aug 4, 2011 |
Ibsen's plays really take you to the end of 19th century - and make youfeel the anxiety caused by social pressures and hypocrisy and seek the power to break free from the rules and conventions and reach for something real. ( )
  Lady_Lazarus | Dec 28, 2009 |
Showing 5 of 5
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» Add other authors (44 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Henrik Ibsenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bombay, YvesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fabra, PompeuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guede Oliva, ManuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Madira, RuiDirecciónsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

Eight Great Tragedies by Sylvan Barnet

Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / The Lady from the Sea / John Gabriel Borkman by Henrik Ibsen

Pillars of Society / A Doll House / Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / The Wild Duck / Rosmersholm / The Lady from the Sea / Hedda Gabler / The Master Builder / Little Eyolf / John Gabriel Borkman / When We Dead Awaken by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / Hedda Gabler / The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen

Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / When We Dead Awaken by Henrik Ibsen

The Master Builder / The Wild Duck / Peer Gynt / Hedda Gabler / Pillars of Society / A Doll's House / The League of Youth / Ghosts / Rosmersholm / John Gabriel Borkman / An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen

Werke 2 : Das Fest auf Solhaug, Brand, Ein Volksfeind, Der Bund der Jugend, Gespenster by Henrik Ibsen

Pillars of Society / A Doll's House / Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / Rosmersholm / Hedda Gabler / The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

Ghosts / The Wild Duck / The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / Hedda Gabler / The Master Builder / An Enemy of the People / The Lady from the Sea by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / The Wild Duck / Hedda Gabler / The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / The Wild Duck / Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / The Wild Duck / The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / The Wild Duck / Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen

Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen

The Works of Henrik Ibsen by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll’s House / Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / The Wild Duck / Rosmersholm / The Lady from the Sea / Hedda Gabler / The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen

Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / A Doll's House / John Gabriel Borkman by Henrik Ibsen

Hedda Gabler / Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / A Doll's House / The League of Youth / The Wild Duck / The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

Nine Famous Plays, Including: Peer Gynt, A Doll's House, Ghosts, Hedda Gabler, An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen

Hedda Gabler / Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / A Doll's House / The League of Youth / The Wild Duck / Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Hedda Gabler / The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen

Die grossen Dramen by Henrik Ibsen

Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / The Wild Duck / Rosmersholm by Henrik Ibsen

A Treasury of the Theatre: From Henrik Ibsen to Robert Lowell by John Gassner

Ghosts / The Vikings at Helgeland / An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Peer Gynt / Ghosts / The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen

Ghosts / The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen

Ghosts / The Wild Duck / The Master Builder / An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen

Pillars of Society / Ghosts / An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen

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A spacious garden-room, with a door in the left-hand wall and two doors in the right-hand wall.
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But I almost think we are all of us ghosts, Pastor Manders. It is not only what we have inherited from our father and mother that "walks" in us. It is all sorts of dead ideas, and lifeless old beliefs, and so forth. They have no vitality, but they cling to us all the same, and we cannot shake them off.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486298523, Paperback)

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."

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:42 -0400)

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