Drama

Among the masterpieces of world literature, this early verse drama by the celebrated Norwegian playwright humorously yet profoundly explores the virtues, vices, and follies common to all humanity — as represented in the person of Peer Gynt, a charming but irresponsible young peasant. Based on Norwegian folklore and Ibsen’s own imaginative inventions, the play relates the roguish life of the world-wandering Peer, who finds wealth and fame — but never happiness — although he is redeemed by love in the end.
As the play opens the young farmer attends a wedding and meets Solveig, the woman who is eventually to be his salvation. However, the rascally Peer then kidnaps the bride and later abandons her in the wilderness. This dismal performance is followed by a string of adventures (many of which do not reflect well on Peer) in many lands. After these soul-chilling exploits, an old and embittered Peer returns to Norway, eventually finding solace in the arms of the faithful Solveig.
Like other early Ibsen plays, such as Brand (1866) and Emperor and Galilean (1874), the work is imbued with poetic mysticism and romanticism, and in Peer we find a rebellious central character in search of an ultimate truth that always seems just out of reach. In this sense Peer can be seen as an alter ego of Ibsen himself, whose lifelong search for artistic and moral certainties resulted in the great later plays (Hedda Gabler, The Wild Duck, An Enemy of the People, etc.) upon which his reputation chiefly rests. This rich, poetic version of Peer Gynt is considered the standard translation.
‘Peer Gynt’, written by Henrik Johan Ibsen, is a five-act play, and one of the most widely performed Norwegian plays of all time. It is presented here, alongside the truly impressive illustrations of Arthur Rackham. Ibsen believed Per Gynt, the Norwegian fairy tale on which the play is loosely based, to be rooted in fact, and several of the characters are modeled after Ibsen’s own family, notably his parents Knud Ibsen and Marichen Altenburg. He was also generally inspired by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen’s collection of Norwegian fairy tales, published in 1845. This edition of ‘Peer Gynt’ contains a series of dazzling colour and black-and-white illustrations – by a master of the craft; Arthur Rackham (1867-1939). One of the most celebrated painters of the British Golden Age of Illustration (which encompassed the years from 1850 until the start of the First World War), Rackham’s artistry is quite simply, unparalleled. Throughout his career, he developed a unique style, combining haunting humour with dream-like romance. Presented alongside the text, his illustrations further refine and elucidate Henrik Johan Ibsen’s enchanting narrative. Pook Press celebrates the great ‘Golden Age of Illustration‘ in children’s literature – a period of unparalleled excellence in book illustration. We publish rare and vintage Golden Age illustrated books, in high-quality colour editions, so that the masterful artwork and story-telling can continue to delight both young and old.
George Lyman Kittredge’s insightful editions of Shakespeare have endured in part because of his eclecticism, his diversity of interests, and his wide-ranging accomplishments, all of which are reflected in the valuable notes in each volume.

These new editions have specific emphasis on the performance histories of the plays (on stage and screen).

Features of each edition include:

The original introduction to the Kittredge Edition Editor’s Introduction to the Focus Edition. An overview on major themes of the plays, and sections on the play’s performance history on stage and screen. Explanatory Notes. The explanatory notes either expand on Kittredge’s superb glosses, or, in the case of plays for which he did not write notes, give the needed explanations for Shakespeare’s sometimes demanding language. Performance notes. These appear separately and immediately below the textual footnotes and include discussions of noteworthy stagings of the plays, issues of interpretation, and film and stage choices. How to read the play as Performance Section. A discussion of the written play vs. the play as performed and the various ways in which Shakespeare’s words allow the reader to envision the work "off the page." Comprehensive Timeline. Covering major historical events (with brief annotations) as well as relevant details from Shakespeare’s life. Some of the Chronologies include time chronologies within the plays. Topics for Discussion and Further Study Section. Critical Issues: Dealing with the text in a larger context and considerations of character, genre, language, and interpretative problems. Performance Issues: Problems and intricacies of staging the play connected to chief issues discussed in the Focus Editions’ Introduction. Select Bibliography & Filmography

Each New Kittredge edition also includes screen grabs from major productions, for comparison and scene study.

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