Ghosts

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Date: 1881 1890 1892 1939

Region: Europe

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Theatre


Artist: Hendrik Ibsen (1828 - 1906)

Confronting Bodies: Russian Religious Authorities, England's Lord Chamberlain, Spain's censors under Franco.

Dates of Action: 1881, 1890, 1892, 1939

Location: All of Scandinavia, England, Spain, Russia and later the Soviet Union

Ghosts.jpg

Description of Artwork: Ghosts, 1890: Drama, one of the most important of the author's realistic period. Its protagonist, the widowed Mrs. Alving has used her energies to suppress the truth about her profligate husband. The play's crisis is provoked by the return from Paris of her son, Oswald, suffering not from consumption but from syphilis, derived from his father. Although the play deals with such taboo subjects as incest and euthanasia, it is chiefly about the death conventions that smother a society's vitality.

The Incident: 1881, Norway, the play was published but caused such an international scandal that no established theater in Scandinavia would dare produce it. 1890, St. Petersburg, the Church had the play banned. 1892, England, the application for a licence was refused by the Lord Chamberlain. 1939, Spain, the work was purged by the Franco Government.

Results of Incident: 1915, England, ban removed by the Lord Chamberlain. 1958, Soviet Union, works formerly banned reported to be extremely popular.

Source: Banned Books 387 B.C. to 1978 A.D., by Anne Lyon Haight, and Chandler B. Grannis, R.R. Bowker Co, 1978.