Brand, Paperback Book
2 out of 5 (1 rating)


The story of a minister driven by faith to risk the death of his wife and child, Brand pits a man of vision against the forces of ignorance and venality.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Plays, playscripts
  • ISBN: 9780140446760

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I feel bad giving this only two stars. For all I know, Ibsen's play is a masterpiece; Hill's version here is certainly very Hill-like, which I appreciate (combining brutal satire, high language and a distinct aura of ambiguity). But as a reading experience... it's not all that hot. It starts out quite symbolically, then for most of the play is fairly realistic, then ends with a rush of symbolism once more. These sections, in Hill's version at least, seem a little disjointed (and fair enough, too. It'd be a tough transition to make for anyone). Brand himself seems like a perfectly human character, inasmuch as most humans are 'unrealistic;' a strange effect of this play is that the seemingly 'realistic' characters end up seeming unrealistically worldly, while the least realistic character seems entirely human. And this brings me to the obvious value of all this, which is that it's an excellent incentive to thinking and puzzling out why you feel x and y about these characters and their statements. Are absolute ideals something to be cherished and admired? Is a pragmatic attitude towards the world always to be scorned? And vice versa.<br/>That said, I'd put this in the lineage of Zarathustra and Kierkegaard rather than, say, Faust or Flaubert's St Antony. The latter work well as works of literature as well as intellectual bon-bons; Hill's remarkably flexible poetry aside, this works best as a bon-bon.

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