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Hedda Gabler

by Henrik Ibsen, Trans. By Edmund Gosse And William Archer

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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up-Ibsen's classic is well served by the talents of Juliet Stevenson and seven other British actors, all veterans of the Royal Shakespeare Company, stage, and film. With excellent diction and generally convincing emotion, the polished cast conveys the dark despair that touches everyone in the play, and eventually overwhelms Hedda. Brief, but pleasant music gently marks the end of each act, and sound quality is good throughout. Exceptionally complete liner notes make it easy to find a specific track, and there's plenty of playbill-style information about the performers and the play. While this recordings is not a must buy, it will be a helpful audio component to classes studying the work of Norway's great 19th century playwright.
Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From AudioFile
Juliet Stevenson inhabits the title Femme Fatale with such conviction that even a lesser supporting cast would have to rise to the occasion. But the cast here is first-rate as is the insightful and resonant direction by John Tydeman, retired head of BBC Radio Drama. Not only has he made this intense stage play perfectly intelligible for audio, but he delivers the most engrossing HEDDA this reviewer has encountered in any medium. The intelligent, spirited, and self-absorbed Hedda has a dull but devoted husband, an ardent ex-lover, and a lecherous old judge hanging around her. Her manipulations, instigated largely to spark her uninspiring existence, result in a tragically untragic shooting and her own virtual enslavement. Ibsen's masterful, flawlessly constructed character study, though written to reflect rural Norway of the 1880s, seems vividly contemporary. Here are characters we either know or hope never to meet--far more fascinating and real than any of the Carringtons or Ewings. Y.R. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

Book Description
One of Ibsen's most powerful plays, providing a a richly coloured and brilliantly detailed portrait

Language Notes
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Norwegian

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From Munich, on June 29, 1890, Ibsen wrote to the Swedish poet, Count Carl Soilsky: "Our intention has all along been to spend the summer in the Tyrol again. But circumstances are against our doing so. I am at present engaged upon a new dramatic work, which for several reasons has made very slow progress, and I do not leave Munich until I can take with me the completed first draft. There is little or no prospect of my being able to complete it in July.

The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Drama in four acts by Henrik Ibsen, published in 1890 and produced the following year. The work reveals Hedda Gabler as a selfish, cynical woman bored by her marriage to the scholar Jorgen Tesman. Her father's pair of pistols provide intermittent diversion, as do the attentions of the ne'er-do-well Judge Brack. When Thea Elvestad, a longtime acquaintance of Hedda's, reveals that she has left her husband for the writer Ejlert Lovborg, who once pursued Hedda, the latter becomes vengeful. Learning that Ejlert has forsworn liquor, Hedda first steers him to a rowdy gathering at Brack's and subsequently burns the reputedly brilliant manuscript that he loses there while drunk. Witnessing his desperation, she sends him one of the pistols and he shoots himself. Brack deduces Hedda's complicity and demands that she become his mistress in exchange for his silence about the matter. Instead, she ends her ennui with the remaining pistol. The work is remarkable for its nonjudgmental depiction of an immoral, destructive character, one of the most vividly realized women in dramatic literature.



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