These eight comedies comprise the most extensive collection of Ludvig Holberg plays ever offered in the English language.
The translators' general introductions establish a cultural context for the comedies and break new ground in understanding the importance of Holberg's comic aesthetic. Argetsinger's extensive experience in theatre and Rossel's preeminence as a Scandinavian Studies scholar assure that the translations are not only accurate but stage-worthy.
The collection opens with The Political Tinker, the first Danish play to be produced in the new Danish Theatre, and ends with The Burial of Danish Comedy, literally the funeral service for the bankrupt theatre. Three more of Holberg's renowned character comedies follow, Jean de France, Jeppe of the Hill, and Erasmus Montanus, along with his literary satire Ulysses von Ithacia. The final two plays demonstrate his ability to write shorter comic works, The Christmas Party, a scathing comedy of manners, and Pernille's Brief Experience as a Lady, a situation comedy that satirizes the practice of baby-switching.
Gerald S. Argetsinger is Associate Professor of Dramatic Literature in the Department of General Education Instruction of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology.Sven H. Rossel is Chair of the Scandinavian Department at the University of Washington, Seattle.