INTRODUCTION 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... more...

ACT I (SCENE.—A handsomely furnished, carpeted room, with a door at the back leading to a lobby. The FATHER is sitting on a couch on the left-hand side, in the foreground, reading a newspaper. Other papers are lying on a small table in front of him. AXEL is on another couch drawn up in a similar position on the right-hand side. A newspaper, which he is not reading, is lying on his knee. The MOTHER is sitting, sewing, in an easy-chair drawn... more...

THE BRIDAL MARCH There lived last century, in one of the high-lying inland valleys of Norway, a fiddler, who has become in some degree a legendary personage. Of the tunes and marches ascribed to him, some are said to have been inspired by the Trolls, one he heard from the devil himself, another he made to save his life, &c., &c. But the most famous of all is a Bridal March; and its story does not end with the story of his life. Fiddler... more...

THE FATHER[1] By Björnstjerne Björnson (1838-1910) The man whose story is here to be told was the wealthiest and most influential person in his parish; his name was Thord Överaas. He appeared in the priest's study one day, tall and earnest. "I have gotten a son," said he, "and I wish to present him for baptism." "What shall his name be?" "Finn,—after my father." "And the sponsors?" They were mentioned, and proved to be... more...

INTRODUCTION BJÖRNSON AS A LYRIC POET I lived far more than e'er I sang;Thought, ire, and mirth unceasing rang  Around me, where I guested;To be where loud life's battles callFor me was well-nigh more than all  My pen on page arrested. What's true and strong has growing-room,And will perhaps eternal bloom,  Without black ink's salvation,And he will be, who least it planned,But in life's surging dared to... more...

THE HOMESTEAD AND THE RACE The coast line of the south of Norway is very irregular. This is the work of the mountains and rivers. The former end in hillocks and headlands, off which often lie islands; the latter have dug out valleys and end in fjords or smaller inlets. In one of these inlets, known as "Kroken" (the nook), lies the homestead. The original name of the place was Krokskogen. In the documents of the Danish government officials this... more...

CAPTAIN MANSANA CHAPTER I I was on my way to Rome, and as I entered the train at Bologna, I bought some newspapers to read on my journey. An item of news from the capital, published in one of the Florence journals, immediately arrested my attention. It carried me back thirteen years, and brought to mind a former visit I had paid to Rome, and certain friends with whom I had lived in a little town in the vicinity, at the time when Rome was still... more...