Michael Meyer, Biographer and Translator of Ibsen and Strindberg, Dead at 79

News   Michael Meyer, Biographer and Translator of Ibsen and Strindberg, Dead at 79 Michael Meyer, a translator of Ibsen and Strindberg plays and biographer of both playwrights, died Aug. 3, according to The New York Times.

Michael Meyer, a translator of Ibsen and Strindberg plays and biographer of both playwrights, died Aug. 3, according to The New York Times.

Mr. Meyer, who was 79, lived in London and penned "Ibsen: A Biography" (1971) and "Strindberg," a 1985 biography he hesitated to write because Strindberg was known to be racist, and the biographer was Jewish, The Times' Mel Gussow reported.

Over the years, Mr. Meyer translated 16 Henrik Ibsen works and 18 August Strindberg plays, works that represent the beginning of modern drama.

Mr. Meyer was born in London. After World War II he lectured on English literature in Sweden, where he learned the language of Strindberg. He learned Norwegian and penned a translation of Ibsen's Little Eyolf for the BBC, and wrote TV versions of The Lady From the Sea and John Gabriel Borkman (Laurence Olivier, Irene Worth and Pamela Brown starred).

Of his translations, critic Gussow writes: "He stripped away archaisms, but he did not modernize the dialogue. By keeping the language in context, he was able to secure a longer life for his translations. They outlive the vernacular of the topical, retaining their classical dimension." Mr. Meyer is survived by a daughter, who shares the name of Ibsen's most famous heroine, Nora.

-- By Kenneth Jones