Selected Plays of Marcus Thrane


Marcus Thrane (1817-1890) was a prophet of social democracy in Norway. For his activities as a labor leader and agitator, he was sentenced to four years in prison. After his release, Thrane took his causes to America and quickly emerged as a critic of the government, the economic order, social structures, and what he perceived to be the narrowness of Norwegian-American life. As a writer, speaker, and editor, he showed himself a keen observer and critic of both the larger American society and the smaller ethnic community to which he belonged.

Among a number of more and less successful ventures in the United States, Thrane wrote and produced a number of plays for Norwegian-speaking audiences. The plays are of speaking audiences. The plays are of modest literary quality, but as entertainment and dramatically presented argument they tell us much about the author and his audiences. They continue to invite reading and may yet evoke a smile, agreement, or an argument from contemporary readers.

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