An Enemy of the People: The Wild Duck: Rosmersholm

An Enemy of the People: The Wild Duck: Rosmersholm

An Enemy of the People: The Wild Duck: Rosmersholm

An Enemy of the People: The Wild Duck: Rosmersholm

Excerpt

The translations in this volume are based on the Norwegian text as printed in the Centenary Edition (Hundreårsutgave, 1928-57), edited byFrancis Bull,Halvdan Koht, andDidrik Arup Seip.

All three plays represented here have been translated a number of times before, and I have not left these earlier versions unregarded-- in addition to the Archer versions, I might mention in particular those of R. Farquharson Sharp, Una Ellis-Fermor, and Eva Le Gallienne-- but neither have I paid them any importunate attention, preferring to approach them more as a possible contributor to their fascinating conversation than as a potential borrower; and it is as such that I feel I owe them a general debt of gratitude for their company rather than specific debts in respect of particular items. Nevertheless, there are of course frequent coincidences, not a few of which are there as a result of a decision I early made not to alter a phrase merely because (as naturally quite often happened) it turned out to have been used in one or another of the earlier versions.

The best translation, says the man with no knowledge of the original, is one that does not read like a translation; for anybody familiar with the original, on the other hand, it is imperative that he should be reminded of it at every stage, and in every possible particular. If I have had any definable policy at all in shaping the present versions, it was to reconcile as far as I was able these two factors--making something that to the knowledgeable was recognizably a 'translation' and not a 'free-rendering' or 'adaptation' or something equally undisciplined, and yet at the same time making the lines 'sayable'. One other point may be referred to here: in deciding whether characters should address each other by first name or surname, I have chosen what seemed appropriate to the equivalent English context of situation, rather than follow the Norwegian conventions mechanically; titles, such as 'Rektor', 'Frøken', and so on, have been similarly treated; and I have also tried to exploit this device to the point where it would, I hoped, deal relatively unobtrusively with the perennial problem of 'De' and 'du', the formal and familiar modes of address.

In connection with the staging of Ibsen's plays , there is one point . . .

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