A New Ibsen for Penguin Classics

– The New Penguin Classics Ibsen edition aims at being the best and most accurate English-language edition of the playwright’s works available, says general editor Tore Rem.

Photo of four books.

Several Ibsen titles are now available in a new English translation from Penguin Classics.

In 2008 Penguin Classics began the ambitious project of renewing its Ibsen titles. By then it was 50-60 years since the last editions had first been published, and they had been kept in print without revisions since. The project was to include new translations of the 12 ‘social problem plays’ or ‘prose dramas’, in addition to a volume containing the renowned poet Geoffrey Hill’s (1932-2016) translations of Brand and Peer Gynt.

With the publication of the volume called Hedda Gabler and Other Plays, the project has now been completed.

– This new English-language edition of Ibsen is the first to be based on Henrik Ibsens Skrifter (Henrik Ibsen’s Works), the critical edition which was produced at the University of Oslo (2005-10; web edition: ibsen.uio.no), Tore Rem notes.

Rem is a professor of literature at the University of Oslo and has been the new edition’s general editor.

An occasion

– The new Penguin edition has aimed at becoming the best and most accurate English-language edition of Ibsen available, he says.

Penguin Classics is one of the central guardians and maintainers of the literary and dramatic world canon. It is therefore something of an occasion that Ibsen is finally available in a completely new edition in this series.

The four volumes of the new edition are as follows:

  • A Doll’s House and Other Plays (A Doll’s HousePillars of the Community, Ghosts and An Enemy of the People), translated by Deborah Dawkin and Erik Skuggevik, ed. Tore Rem, Introduction by Tore Rem, University of Oslo (2016).
  • Hedda Gabler and Other Plays (Hedda GablerThe Wild DuckRosmersholm and The Lady from the Sea), translated by Deborah Dawkin and Erik Skuggevik, ed. Tore Rem, Introduction by Professor Martin Puchner, Harvard University (2019).
  • The Master Builder and Other Plays (The Master BuilderLittle EyolfJohn Gabriel Borkman and When We Dead Awaken), translated by Anne-Marie Stanton-Ife and Barbara Haveland, ed. Tore Rem, Introduction by Professor Toril Moi, Duke University (2014).
  • Peer Gynt and Brand, translated by Geoffrey Hill, ed. Tore Rem, Introduction by Professor Janet Garton, University of East Anglia (2016).

Anne-Marie Stanton-Ife, Barbara Haveland, Deborah Dawkin and Erik Skuggevik have been the project’s translators. The editorial committee has consisted of Professor Terence Cave, Professor Colin Burrow, Professor Toril Moi, Professor Janet Garton and author and critic Paul Binding, all among the world’s foremost Ibsen scholars and drama experts.

The work has been supported by the Centre for Ibsen Studies and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

For more information, contact Tore Rem.

Published Jan. 29, 2020 10:03 AM - Last modified Jan. 29, 2020 10:35 AM