What Do I Read Next?
Ibsen’s play An Enemy of the People was started before Ghosts but was not finished until after the latter play. It is a scathing indictment of social standards, as a doctor who points out contamination of a town’s water supply goes from hero to enemy when his revelation upsets the local economy. Viking Press has a 1987 edition edited by Arthur Miller, the author of Death of a Salesman.
At the same time that Ibsen wrote in Norway, August Strindberg was the leading playwright in Sweden. Both playwrights explored the new realistic forms. Miss Julie, Strindberg’s 1888 drama about an aristocratic girl and her affair with her conniving butler, is considered his best.
The Russian author Anton Chekhov is considered one of the greatest authors of short stories and dramas in history. He cited Ibsen as one of his main influences. All of Chekhov’s plays are important, but The Cherry Orchard (1904) in particular examines some of the same themes as Ghosts.
Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw was a supporter of moderate Socialist ideas. His political analysis of Ibsen is printed as a book, The Quintessence of Ibsenism, available in a 1994 Dover Books edition.
Ibsen’s life and ideas come alive in the 1970 publication Correspondence of Henrik Ibsen, edited by Mary Morrison.
The way that writers treat the weaknesses of the body, like Ibsen’s use of syphilis to represent the decadence that is passed down from one generation to the next, was examined in Susan Sontag’s classic essay Illness as a Metaphor, which is now published in one volume (1995) with its sequel, AIDS and Its Metaphors.
Stella Adler is one of the great teachers of actors in America, having been instrumental in the training of Marlon Brando, Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, and others. In 1999, Barry Paris edited a series of her lectures into one cohesive book, Stella Adler on Ibsen, Strindberg and Chekhov.