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Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen
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by Henrik Ibsen

Translated, with an Introduction, by William Archer


The winter of 1879-80 Ibsen spent in Munich, and the greater part
of the summer of 1880 at Berchtesgaden. November 1880 saw him back
in Rome, and he passed the summer of 1881 at Sorrento. There,
fourteen years earlier, he had written the last acts of _Peer
Gynt_; there he now wrote, or at any rate completed, _Gengangere_.
It was published in December 1881, after he had returned to Rome.
On December 22 he wrote to Ludwig Passarge, one of his German
translators, "My new play has now appeared, and has occasioned a
terrible uproar in the Scandinavian press; every day I receive
letters and newspaper articles decrying or praising it. ... I
consider it utterly impossible that any German theatre will accept
the play at present. I hardly believe that they will dare to play
it in the Scandinavian countries for some time to come." How
rightly he judged we shall see anon.

In the newspapers there was far more obloquy than praise. Two men,
however, stood by him from the first: Bjornson, from whom he had
been practically estranged ever since _The League of Youth_, and
Georg Brandes. The latter published an article in which he declared
(I quote from memory) that the play might or might not be Ibsen's
greatest work, but that it was certainly his noblest deed. It was,
doubtless, in acknowledgment of this article that Ibsen wrote to