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Goldman, Emma) Ibsen, Henrik.

Young Men's League, The. BOXED WITH THE WILD DUCK.


From the Library of Mother Earth
[Goldman, Emma]. Ibsen, Henrik. The Wild Duck: A Drama in Five Acts. Translated from the Norwegian by Eleanor Marx Aveling. Boston: Walter H. Baker & Co., [1890].
8vo.; heavily worn, waterstained at outer edge, occasionally affecting text; printed wrappers, glued.
Together with:
[Goldman, Emma]. Ibsen, Henrik. The Young Men's League: A Play in Five Acts. Translated by Henry Carstarphen. Boston: Walter H. Baker & Co., 1900.
8vo.; pages occasionally foxed and darkened; printed wrappers, glued, front cover detached but present, rear cover lacking; front cover worn.
First separate American editions. From the library of Goldman's Mother Earth, each with their purple stamp at the bottom of the title page: "Mother Earth/210 East 13th St./New York City." Uncommon: neither is owned by the Library of Congress; in fact, they mention The Wild Duck for the first time as part of a 1948 Ibsen anthology, and do not mention The Young Men's League at all.
A splendid documentation of Goldman's reading habits as well as remarkable survivals of uncommon early American printings of Ibsen's plays.
Goldman's broad intellectual interests ranged from Marxism and labor rights, to women's suffrage, to the fight for birth control, to art, music, literature, and, especially, drama. It is not surprising that Goldman admired Ibsen, the author of the seminal work of dramatic feminism, A Doll's House: Nora's vehement statements and actions of independence against her tyrannical and condescending husband Torvald shocked middle-class audiences everywhere when it was first performed, in positing that more women might leave their husbands had they somewhere to go, some means of establishing independence. As Goldman noted in The Social Significance of the Modern Drama (1914):
 In "A Doll's House" Ibsen returns to the subject most vital to him - the Social Lie and
 Duty - this time as manifesting themselves in the sacred institution of the home and in
 the position of woman in her gilded cage.
 Nora is the beloved, adored wife of Torvald Helmer. He is an admirable man, rigidly
 honest, of high moral ideals, and passionately devoted to his wife and children. In
 short, a good man and an enviable husband. Almost every mother would be proud of
 such a match for her daughter, and the latter would consider herself fortunate to
 become the wife of such a man….
 Is there anything more degrading to woman than to live with a stranger, and bear
 him children? Yet, the lie of the marriage institution decrees that she shall continue
 to do so, and the social conception of duty insists that for the sake of that lie she need
 be nothing else than a plaything, a doll, a nonentity.
 When Nora closes behind her the door of her doll's house [& leaves her husband],
 she opens wide the gate of life for woman, and proclaims the revolutionary message
 that only perfect freedom and communion make a true bond between man and woman,
 meeting in the open, without lies, without shame, free from the bondage of duty.
It would be hard to find an Ibsen association more tantalizing than these two wonderful relics from Emma Goldman's literary collection housed at Mother Earth.
"Red Emma" Goldman (1869-1940), anarchist, feminist, pioneer advocate of birth control, was born in Kovno, Russia (Kaunus in modern Lithuania) into a ghetto Jewish family. She emigrated to the United States in 1885, finding work in a Rochester clothing factory earning $2.50 weekly. Deeply affected by the Chicago Haymarket executions, she devoted the rest of her life to anarchism. By 1889, she had moved to New York City and there became associated with Alexander Berkman. According to her biographer, Richard Drinnon, her most serious mistake "was an early acceptance of individual acts of violence." In 1892, during the Homestead conflict, she helped Berman prepare to kill Henry Clay Frick. The attempt was unsuccessful, but Berkman was jailed for 14 years and in 1893 Goldman was imprisoned. A magnetic speaker, she traveled the country speaking about anarchism and the new woman. As editor of the radical monthly, Mother Earth (1906-1917), she published a number of her own pamphlets. Her radical views caused her to be carefully watched by authorities. J. Edgar Hoover considered her "the most dangerous woman in America" and in 1919 she was deported to Russia during the Red scare. She became disillusioned with the Bolsheviks and in 1925 married a Welsh miner, James Colton, to obtain British citizenship. Fearful of economic dependence, she sought to support herself through her lectures and writings. In 1934 the U.S. government granted Goldman a 90-day stay to lecture, a brief respite in the exile which saddened her to the end. She continued to pursue her radical ideals until her death in 1940 writing about and speaking out against Fascism in Spain and Germany.
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