The late Rolf Fjelde, a Brooklyn native of Norwegian descent, translated his first Ibsen play, The Wild Duck, in 1956. Founding President of the Ibsen Society of America and perhaps the most widely-known translator of Ibsen's work, Mr. Fjelde worked to avoid what he called, "stiff and hobbled diction — or, certainly no better, a cavalier freedom that has cut or padded the text." Ibsen's 1899 drama - in fact his last - tells the story of Arnold Rubek, an aging, celebrated sculptor who has achieved great international fame with his sculpture "The Day of the Resurrection". Irene, the model for this sculpture, once considered it her lifework to accompany Rubek and help him in his art. Yet, after years of Rubek's refusal to consider Irene as anything more than his model, she left. Since then, Rubek's creative power has diminished, and he now feels that he can no longer create art of any significance without his muse. In the time that has passed, Rubek has married Maja, a much younger woman, and Irene has been married twice and been in a mental hospital. When Rubek encounters a disguised Irene as a seaside hotel, his former muse seems to be in the grip of a "living death", and in a painful confrontation Irene accuses Rubek of having ruined her life and stolen her soul. The remaining passion between the artist and his inspiration ultimately drives the pair into the mountains to face an icy death.
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