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Ibsen’s ‘Terje Vigen’ is a harrowing drama about a man’s choices wrought out of desperation, exploring themes of revenge and retaliation.

Ibsen wrote ‘Terje Vigen’ in 1862, forty years before the independence of Norway.  The story is set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic wars in which the protagonist fights against the English blockade to smuggle food back for his family. The poem is considered a central part of the Norwegian national identity which developed during this period.

‘Terje Vigen’ text in English

‘Terje Vigen’ text in Arabic

‘A Soldier Dreams of White Lilies’ was written in 1967, inspired by a conversation that Darwish had with an Israeli soldier.

The poem humanises the Israeli soldier, which caused controversy at the time of writing. 

‘A Soldier Dreams of White Lilies’ compliments Ibsen’s ‘Terje Vigen’ as both works deal with individuals trapped in a war-torn landscape, forced to make life and death decisions.

‘A Soldier Dreams of White Lilies’ text in English.

‘A Soldier Dreams of White Lilies’ text in Arabic .

Thomas Høegh’s article about Dawish from Banipal magazine of modern Arab literature

Al Jazeera English News: Mahmoud Darwish remembered

Henrick Ibsen & Mahmoud Darwish

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