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Critics have conceded that Ibsen used folk themes in his earlier, inferior plays, but no major book has dealt with the fact that even in his later work, he made extensive use of folklore.  In this engaging work, cultural anthropologist Per Schelde Jacobsen and literary critic Barbara Fass Leavy present a path-breaking study of the late plays.

The authors examine the Danish magic ballads, the seal maiden stories, and Norwegian tales dealing with various kinds of fairy folk.  Beginning with Rosmersholm, and in the six plays that follow it, the authors examine the folklore patterns, illuminating the intertextual play between folklore characters and the characters of the plays.  The book supplies a rare opportunity for English-speaking readers to gain acquaintance with this important tradition.  One of the Danish folk ballads provided Matthew Arnold with the subject of his famous poem, "The Forsaken Merman" which inspired the title of this collaborative Ibsen study.

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"Ibsen's folklore can no longer be overlooked.  In arriving at a lyrical approach to the late plays [this book] is essential."
        Theater Three (journal of the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama).

"...penetrating and convincing... [this] is the first lengthy and systematic study of the folklore elements in Ibsen's plays from Rosmersholm to the last one."

       Norwegian Studies

"The author's treatment of Ibsen is not only competent, but also penetrating and innovative."
       Bengt Holbek, Department of Folklore, University of Copenhagen

"Barbara Fass Leavy's chatper, "Hedda Gabler and the Huldre" is included in an anthology of criticism of Ibsen's plays."
       Harold Bloom, ed. Ibsen's Plays
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