Wednesday, December 11, 2019


A National Disease

Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906), The Wild Duck, Act III (tr. Una Ellis-Fermor):
GINA. Do you think young Werle is really crazy?

RELLING. No, worse luck! He's no crazier than most people. But he’s got a disease in his system, all the same.

GINA. What's wrong with him, then?

RELLING. Well, I'll tell you, Mrs Ekdal. He's suffering from acute inflammation of the conscience.

HEDVIG. Is that a kind of disease?

RELLING. Why, yes. It's a national disease; but it only breaks out sporadically.
Id., Act V:
RELLING. While I remember it, young Mr Werle — don't use that exotic word 'ideals'. We have a good enough native word: 'lies'.

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