Three Dramas

By | June 23, 2019

Three Dramas

The three plays here presented were the outcome of a period when Björnson’s views on many topics were undergoing a drastic revision and he was abandoning much of his previous orthodoxy in many directions. Two of them were written during, and one immediately after, a three years’ absence from Norway—years spent almost entirely in southern Europe. [Note: Further details respecting Björnson’s life will be found in the Introduction to Three Comedies by Björnson, published in Everyman’s Library in 1912.] For nearly ten years previous to this voluntary exile, Björnson had been immersed in theatrical management and political propagandism. His political activities (guided by a more or less pronounced republican tendency) centred in an agitation for a truer equality between the kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, his point of view being that Norway had come to be regarded too much as a mere appanage of Sweden. Between that and his manifold and distracting cares as theatrical director, he had let imaginative work slide for the time being; but his years abroad had a recuperative effect, and, in addition, broadened his mental outlook in a remarkable manner. Foreign travel, a wider acquaintance with differing types of humanity, and, above all, a newly-won acquaintance with the contemporary literature of other countries, made a deep impression upon Björnson’s vigorously receptive mind.

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