Thursday, 15 March 2018

Ibsen, Henrik "Peer Gynt"

Ibsen, Henrik "Peer Gynt" (Danish: Peer Gynt) - 1867

I have always loved the music "Peer Gynt" by Edvard Grieg and therefore, the title of this play alone sounded both mysterious and enchanting to me at the same time.

I have mentioned it before, reading a play is only half the pleasure and I'd much rather watch a play but that's not always possible. So, after long deliberation, I finally tackled this one. I find it even harder to read when it its written - like here - in poems.

There are trolls in this play but also travels to North Africa (Morocco and Egypt), we witness a kidnapping and murder, love and betrayal, life and death, this story has it all. It is both satirical and mystical.

However, Peer Gynt is not the kind of character you would like him to be. Why even his mother is fond of him, nobody knows. He is not at all likeable, he is not nice to anyone, we all would be better off without him.

Certainly not my favourite book of the year but I am glad I finally read it.

From the back cover:
"Peer Gynt was Ibsen's last work to use poetry as a medium of dramatic expression, and the poetry is brilliantly appropriate to the imaginative swings between Scandinavian oral folk traditions, the Morrocan coast, the Sahara Desert, and the absurdist images of the Cairo madhouse. This translation is taken from the acclaimed Oxford Ibsen. John McFarlane is Emeritus Professor of European Literature at the University of East Anglia, and General Editor of the Oxford Ibsen."


  1. Reading both poetry and plays is tough for me. It seems both should be experienced by hearing voices. I have to read poetry out loud to get it. I confess I like movies more than plays. But I too loved the music to Peer Gynt.

    1. I totally agree. Maybe that's what I should do in future, read poetry aloud. Good tip, thanks.