An Enemy of the People
An Enemy of the People
Regarded as one of the foremost playwrights of the nineteenth century, Henrik Ibsen tells the story of the idealist Doctor Thomas Stockmann, the medical officer of a recently opened spa in a small town in southern Norway, who finds that the water is seriously contaminated. He notifies members of the community and initially receives support and thanks for the discovery. Threatened by the possible impact of such a revelation, his brother, the town mayor, conspires with local politicians and the newspaper to suppress the story and pressure Dr. Stockmann to retract his statements.
At a public meeting, an attempt is made to keep Dr. Stockmann from speaking, but he launches into a tirade condemning the corruption of the town and the tyranny of the majority. Finding his speech offensive, he is shouted down by the masses and reviled as “an enemy of the people.”
Environmentalist, activist, and attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. contributes a foreword to this Skyhorse edition of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s renowned 1882 play.
In his foreword, Kennedy alerts readers to the undeniable fact that the persecution of those who tell uncomfortable truths, which Ibsen described over one hundred years ago, continues to this day and is as relevant now as ever. We face environmental deregulation and degradation, politicians in lobbyists’ pockets, attacks on facts that are agreed upon by reputable scientists, corporate funded and controlled research, and attempts to impede and suppress whistleblowers. The battle continues and Kennedy joins Ibsen on the front lines.
Norwegian playwright and theatre director Henrik Johan Ibsen (20 March 1828 — 23 May 1906, is considered one of the most influential and insightful playwrights and poets of the nineteenth century, also referred to as ‘the father of realism’ and ‘the father of modern drama’.
His plays, including “Love’s Comedy”, “Brand”, “Peer Gynt”, “Emperor and Galilean”, “The Pillars of Society”, “A Doll’s House”, “Ghosts”, “An Enemy of the People”, “The Wild Duck”, “Hedda Gabler”, “The Master Builder”, and “When We Dead Awaken” explored and challenged social norms and taboos, stirring up controversy and debate, and bringing to the stage powerful and notorious characters, such as Hedda, the daughter of an aristocratic and enigmatic general, and considered to be one of the most demanding roles taken on by prominent actresses worldwide.
Ibsen was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1902, 1903, and 1904, and his plays continue to be performed around the world to this day.