- St. John's Eve (play)
St. John's Eve, (Danish-Norwegian: "Sancthansnatten") is a play written by
Henrik Ibsenin 1853. The play is considered apocryphal, because it never entered Ibsen's collected works. The reason for this was a rather poor criticism when it was shown the first time, at den nationale scenein Bergenin 1853.
The play takes place during a
midsummerfeast on a valley farm in Telemark. Here, we find two very different attitudes, symbolized in the old farm house, inhabited by the old farmer, "Berg", and his granddaughter "Anne", and a new house, inhabited by her stepmother, "Mrs. Berg" and her daughter "Juliane", from an earlier marriage. At the time of the play, Anne's father is dead, and the big question is inheritance. The second "Mrs. Berg" wishes for her daughter to inherit the farm, and has found her a suitor from town, "Johannes Birk". He arrives with Juliane's brother Jørgen, and a fellow student, "Julian Paulsen". The young ones assemble for a trip to the hill of st. John(Sankthanshaugen), to take part in the revels of rural festivity. Jørgen prepares the Punch, but the people are not aware of the nisse, who lives in the attic of the old house. He mixes the liquor with a mystical flower, with the virtue of remembrancefor those who have forgotten their past.
The young ones wander away after tasting the liquor. Anne walks with Birk, Julian with Juliane. As the night wears on, the
elvesdance in the forest, and Anne finds a flower, in Norwegian called "Keys of st. Mary". With this, she orders the mountain to open, and the couples witness a play-in-the-play, staging an old balladof a girl who were abducted into the mountain by the mountain king, and drinking a cup of forgetfulness. Anne is brought up on old folkloreand songs, and knows the verses, and, surprisingly enough, so does Birk. Paulsen, on the other hand, interprets The mountain king as a "Fine gentleman of the upper classes", from his own town.
After this play, Anne recognizes Birk as her childhood friend, and Paulsen recognizes Juliane from a dancing school in the city. The day after, the "right" couples decide to engage, but Mrs. Berg had plans of ruling the farm through Birk. The flower Anne found has turned into a real key, and with this, her grandfather opens a box containing her father's will, long lost. This states her rightful inheritance when marrying, and Mrs. Berg is beaten in the end. Anne marries Birk, Julian marries Juliane and all are happy about the change in plans. The real winner is the
nisse, who staged it all from behind.
Reception and ctiticism
The comical figure of Julian Paulsen was at the time a satirical comment on the regular urban romantic, most notably
Johan Sebastian Welhaven. Paulsen is a romantic nationalist, pining for the hulderin the Norwegian forests. He is heartbroken, because the fairy talesedited by Asbjørnsen and Moe, have made public that the Hulder is attributed with a cow's tail. The editors, Paulsen states, are "inhuman" because of this.
Ibsen, through some of the protagonists, seems to think Paulsen is far from the truth of both folklore and rural life, and as the play goes on, we learn that he is unable to tolerate the farmers at all. The satire was clear, and the public reacted with scorn. They felt offended, and the play was not well received. Ibsen himself stated that the whole gang of critics thought like Paulsen and decided not to offend them again. Therefore, "St. John's Eve" was never printed in his "collected works", and never played again until
1978, under the supervision of Ingeborg Refling Hagen. Since then, it has been played by youth-theater groups and children alike, and only twice by a regular official theatre. The two productions does not, however, render the play full justice.
The play takes into account to variants of
romantic nationalismin Norway. On the one side (Paulsen), we have the naive and unrealistic idea of "nature" and "originality", or even "primitive life", seen from a safe urban setting. On the other hand, we get the more realistic wiew of the country and the norwegian farm culture. The first wiew is presented as arrogant, the other as humble. Some of the themes is inspired by similar plays written by Henrik Wergeland, and are used again fully in Peer Gynt.
The play relies on many sources. Most notably
A Midsummer Night's Dreamby William Shakespeare. Ibsen takes a lot of plot devices from this play: Puck(the Nisse), the flower, the confusion of couples, the elves, and even the summer night itself. Like the Puck, the Nisse in the play has the epilogue.
Further, Ibsen alludes to
norwegian folk tales, and ballads of abduction.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
John Mayer — For other people named John Mayer, see John Mayer (disambiguation). John Mayer Mayer at the Mile High Music Festival on July 20, 2008 Background information … Wikipedia
Eve Online — Developer(s) CCP Games Publisher(s) CCP Games … Wikipedia
John Elway — Elway in December 2004 No. 7 Denver Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations Quarterback … Wikipedia
John Barry (Filmkomponist) — John Barry OBE (* 3. November 1933 in York, England als John Barry Prendergast; selten benutztes Pseudonym Michael Angelo; † 30. Januar 2011 in Glen Cove) war einer der erfolgreichsten britischen Filmkomponisten und Arrangeure des 20.… … Deutsch Wikipedia
John Barry Prendergast — John Barry OBE (* 3. November 1933 in York, England; eigentlich John Barry Prendergast) ist einer der weltweit erfolgreichsten Filmkomponisten und Arrangeure des 20. Jahrhunderts und wurde mit 4 Grammys und 5 Oscars geehrt. Besondere Popularität… … Deutsch Wikipedia
John Wayne Gacy — Mug shot of John Wayne Gacy Background information Birth name John Wayne Gacy, Jr. Born March 17, 1942(1942 03 17) Chicago, Illinois … Wikipedia
John Lithgow — Nombre real John Arthur Lithgow Nacimiento 19 de octubre de 1945 66 años … Wikipedia Español
John Henry Newman — John Henry Newman † Catholic Encyclopedia ► John Henry Newman (1801 1890) Cardinal Deacon of St. George in Velabro, divine, philosopher, man of letters, leader of the Tractarian Movement, and the most illustrious of English… … Catholic encyclopedia
John Chiang (actor) — John Chiang Chinese name 姜大衛 (Traditional) Chinese name 姜大卫 (Simplified) Birth name 姜偉年 (Chiang Wei Nien) Born 29 June 1947 ( … Wikipedia
John G. Stoessinger — John G. Stoessinger, Ph.D. (Harvard), a prize winning author of ten leading books on world politics, has been the recipient of the distinguished Bancroft Prize for History for The Might of Nations , and has served as Acting Director for the… … Wikipedia