Anonym anmelder i The National Observer
It would appear that Dr. Henrik Ibsen, like certain revolutionaries nearer home, is a believer in the policy of filling up the cup. The author of Ghosts, of Rosmersholm, of Hedda Gabler, of The Wild Duck, is still not satisfied that he has done enough to waft the atmosphere of the criminal lunatic-asylum across the footlights. He would have us understand that his crusade against the sane and the sanitary drama is still in course of vigorous prosecution, and that no stopping of ears or of noses will arrest his reforming zeal. Never was prophet more fortunate in the loyalty of his disciples. Few in numbers, and happily feeble in influence, they compensate for these deficiencies by a blind adoration that would be sublime of the achievements that evoked it were not so disagreeably ridiculous. It is no longer possible to doubt the sincerity of those who, in this country, have done their utmost to convert the prejudiced advocate of a clean and comprehensible drama to the true Ibsenite faith. Though it has long been evident that they understand as little of their Scandinavian Mahatmas symbolic jargon of wild ducks and white horses as the Philistines whom they regard with such contemptuous pity, there seems to be no reasonable ground for continuing to question their good faith. They have persuaded themselves firmly that there is some precious social and moral evangel wrapped up somehow they cannot explain how in the banal babblings of their Masters Heddas and Tesmans and Lovborgs; and even while admitting that the Ibsen drama would be equally intelligible if read or played backwards, they only increase the fervour of their adulatory pæans with every fresh exhibition of their idols unpleasant peculiarities. If this melancholy disease of Ibsenitis were curable by homæopathic treatment, Little Eyolf would deserve a hearty welcome, and its able English translator, Mr. William Archer, would be entitled to the lasting gratitude of his fellow sufferers. But when this last weird jumble of incoherence and unpleasantness, with its lampoons of humanity, its clumsy and pointless mysticism, and its tedious mechanical tricks of dialogue, is hailed with rapture as the supreme effort of a master mind, it is to be feared that the case is hopeless indeed. For the few whose critical judgment has been overthrown by this monstrous hallucination, nothing can be done. In other quarters, Little Eyolf may be left with all confidence to speak for itself. It is Ibsen at his worst Ibsen in his ugliest and his most laboriously offensive mood. That Mr. Alfred Allmers is a colossal prig and bore of the now familiar Norwegian pattern, that Rita, his wife, is an unwomanly and hateful harridan, and that a second equally objectionable woman hovers about the premises for the express purpose of providing material for the jealous wranglings of this uncanny pair, are conditions for which no one will be unprepared who has endured previous instalments of the Ibsenite drama. Though the mutual recrimination of this profoundly unpleasant couple, varied by an occasional passage of suppressed love-making between Mr. Allmers and his supposed half-sister Asta, monopolises the lions share of the dialogue, it could almost be wished that there were literally nothing more in the whole of the three dreary Acts. For in that case we at least should have been spared a libel upon the purest of human emotions so outrageous, that even Ibsen should have been ashamed to make himself responsible for it. That portion of the play which deals with the relation of the crippled child Eyolf to his parents, and especially to his mother, can only be described by one term. It is simply disgusting. The prurient suggestion as to the circumstances attending the accident that caused the childs lameness, is but a straw that indicates how the current of gratuitous nastiness flows through the works of this great Norwegian reformer. But the whole idea of the mothers jealous dislike of her only child maimed and crippled by her own neglect is as untrue to nature as it is offensive in art. This loathsome mother of the Ibsenite imagination (who detects the evil eye in her child because he seems to her to be, in some way, an obstacle to the full gratification of her coarse passion) is, in its way, Dr. Ibsens most remarkable creation. For all their hideousness, his previous caricatures of womanhood have never been painted in quite such lurid colours. Allmers himself, who oscillates feebly between his wife and the intrusive Asta, and at one point excuses his coldness to the former by the charming moral reflection that sorrow makes us wicked and hateful, is a miserable creature enough. But, as usual, it is the Ibsenite woman who provides the most obnoxious elements of the Ibsenite play. The customary veneer of allegorical mysticism that signifies nothing and leads to nothing, is daubed on in this case with an unusually generous hand. There are copious tricks of repeated allusion to the floating crutch, to the drowned childs wide-open eyes and to evil eyes in general; and there is a kind of female Pied Piper with a black dog, who lures the lad to his death in the fjord. What it all means, why it is all there, are questions that the faithful must be left to answer from the profound depths of their psychological insight. To the sceptic must be permitted the luxury of describing this inspired work as a deplorable farrago of dreary and revolting rubbish.
Publisert 6. apr. 2018 10:04 - Sist endret 6. apr. 2018 10:04