Ibsen in Israel
In his autobiography, The Tale of Love and Darkness (2002), the Israeli author Amos Oz casts himself as the young Peer Gynt who listens to his mother’s stories ‘of the button moulder ... and .. the terrible Boyg’ (261). The allusion to the play is important enough for Oz to repeat it twice, and to mention the specific moment when he encountered the play in book form. Similarly, David Grossman refers to a performance of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House in
The Zigzag Kid (1994), which though is not explicitly autobiographical, deals with the ideas of childhood and the roots of Israeli identity. Indeed, these plays were part of these writers’ heritage. As Freddie Rokem has pointed out in, pre-Israeli-state Hebrew-language theatre relied almost exclusively on translations of well-known plays of European authors, Ibsen among them (Rokem, 2010, 132). This paper will examine the reception of Ibsen’s plays in
mandatory Palestine and Israel in the two decades encompassing the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the foundation of the state of Israel, and the Suez Crisis (1935-1957); press reactions to the plays will be examined in the context of the later literary evocations of this period and its role in the formation of Israeli society.
Oz, Amos. A Tale of Love and Darkness. Random House, 2005.
Rokem, Freddie. ‘Peer Gynt in Israel’. Global Ibsen: Performing Multiple Modernities. Routledge, 2012, pp.131- 147.