Anonym anmelder i The Times

Lille Eyolf i William Archers engelske oversettelse, utgitt av William Heinemann i London, anmeldt i The Times i London 21. desember 1894.



The votaries of Ibsen will, we suppose, go into ecstasies over his new play, Little Eyolf, by Henrik Ibsen, translated from the Norwegian by William Archer (W. Heinemann). As we cannot reckon ourselves in that category, we are, perhaps, hardly qualified to give an opinion about the merits of the play, or even to say what it is all about. If we were, we should say that we do not know in the least what it is all about and that we see very little merit in it. All the characters but one there are only six of them in all appear to be meant for ordinary flesh and blood that is, such ordinary flesh and blood as is compounded in the Ibsen laboratory. There is the mari incompris, Alfred Allmers, «landed proprietor, man of letters, and formerly a tutor,» who has abandoned his profession on marrying an heiress and forthwith devoted himself to the composition of a magnum opus on «Human Responsibility.» There is his beautiful and erotic wife Rita, who endowed him with her «gold and green forests» and has lived to repent the bargain, because she thinks he neglects her very amorous self and prefers to devote himself first to his book, and secondly to the education of his child. There is his half-sister Asta, who, of course, understands him much better than his selfish and froward wife, and whose better understanding is quickened by the discovery that she is not his half-sister at all. There is an Engineer Borgheim, who is attached to Asta, but still more attached to his profession of roadmaking and ejaculates at intervals, «Oh, what a glorious world this is and what a joy it is to be a roadmaker in it,» or sentiments to that effect. There is the crippled child Eyolf, who is drowned at the end of the first act. These constitute the human element of the play that is, they contain as much or as little of humanity as Ibsen is in the habit of putting into his characters. The fantastic element is supplied by the Rat-Wife, a sort of witch of the Pied Piper type, only more malignant and uncanny, who carries about a little dog in a bag, and charms rats out of their holes and lures them away to the water. If we understand the action, she charms little Eyolf away to the water and there drowns him.The rest of the play turns on this incident. There is the usual amount of morbid self-colloquy and still more morbid dialogue. Asta having discovered that she is not «ower sib» to Allmers, thinks it best to relieve the complications of the situation by marrying the ecstatic roadmaker, and going off with him to his work. This reduces the dramatis personæ to two, for little Eyolf is dead and the Rat-Wife appears only for a short time in the first act and vanishes completely after she has accomplished her wicked will. Allmers and his wife talk the situation over at portentous length, and, after discussing various morbid alternatives, they finally decide to make the best of it though what the best of it is it passes the wit of non-Ibsenic man to understand: There is a good deal about spirits and stars and peaks and the great silence, and when Allmers has uttered these last words Rita finally ejaculates, «Thanks» a sentiment which some of the less illumined of Ibsens readers may be excused for heartily sharing. As we do not pretend to understand the play we cannot attempt to criticize it. If it is an allegory, we have failed to discover the key to it. Its purely literary merit, so far as may be judged from the English version, appears to us to be small. It has strong passages here and there, but they are separated by dreary deserts of childish and pointless dialogue. Its characters are enigmas, and its plot is a puzzle, and one at least of its situations, that of Rita reproaching her husband for his coldness, is nasty, and nothing else.


Publisert 6. apr. 2018 10:04 - Sist endret 6. apr. 2018 10:04