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Henrik Ibsen

Deserves to be added to the list for his contribution to the modern literary troll, having invented Dovre Gubben, who imprisons the hero in Ibsen's classic dramatic work (with many comic moments) Peer Gynt. The music composed by Edward Grieg captures the Scandinavian troll. Both Kittelsen and Munch have illustrated the play.


Here is an English interpretation of Peer Gynt's meeting with the trolls (by Arthur Rackham):


(click on thumbnail to view bigger version)

Then a short quote from the play where Peer is asked by the old troll to compare humans and trolls:

"THE OLD MAN
What difference is there ’twixt trolls and men?

PEER

No difference at all, as it seems to me.
Big trolls would roast you and small trolls would claw you;—
with us it were likewise, if only they dared.

THE OLD MAN
True enough; in that and in more we’re alike.
Yet morning is morning, and even is even,
and there is a difference all the same.—
Now let me tell you wherein it lies:
Out yonder, under the shining vault,
among men the saying goes: “Man, be thyself!”
At home here with us, ’mid the tribe of the trolls,
the saying goes: “Troll, to thyself be—enough!”

THE TROLL–COURTIER [to PEER GYNT]
Can you fathom the depth?



PEER
It strikes me as misty.

THE OLD MAN
My son, that “Enough,” that most potent and sundering
word, must be graven upon your escutcheon.

PEER [scratching his head]
Well, but—

THE OLD MAN
It must, if you here would be master!"

(From Henrik Ibsen, Peer Gynt, Act 2 which you can read here.)

Here is a more modern portrayal of Peer Gynt in Dovre Gubben's cave by the Norwegian painter Jarle Rosseland:



Finally listen to Grieg's work Wedding at Troldhaugen (Troll Hill) in MIDI format (Apple's Quicktime Player required):

Trollhaugen

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