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August Strindberg

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August Strindberg, photographic selfportrait

Johan August Strindberg Template:Audio (Stockholm, January 22, 1849 - Stockholm, May 14, 1912) was a writer, playwright and painter of Sweden. He is ranked among Sweden's most important authors. Strindberg is known as one of the fathers of modern theater. His work falls into two major literary movements, Naturalism and Expressionism.

Strindberg was married to three women, Siri von Essen, Frieda Uhl, and lastly Harriet Bosse. Though he had children with all of them, his hypersensitive, neurotic character led to bitter divorces.

Strindberg's relationships with women were troubled, and his legacy of words and deeds has often been interpreted as misogynist by both his contemporaries as well as modern readers. However, most acknowledge that he had uncommon insight into the hypocrisy of his society's gender expectations, sexual behavior and morality. Marriage and the family were under stress in Strindberg's lifetime as Sweden industrialized and urbanized at a rapid pace. Problems of prostitution and morality were debated heatedly amongst writers and critics as well as politicians. His early writing often dealt with the traditional roles of the sexes imposed by society, which he criticized as unjust.

Strindberg was admired by the working classes as a radical writer. He was a Socialist (or maybe more of an Anarchist) and his daughter Karin married the Russian bolshevik Ivan Smirnov. As for his political standpoints, Strindberg has been widely popular in Socialist countries, such as the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and in Cuba.

He was a multi-faceted author; often extreme. After his death, some psychoanalysts have speculated that his contradictory and difficult character was due to his fear of his own latent homosexuality. Others invoke his early family life. His father, Oskar, was a small-time merchant. His mother, who he called the servant, was originally his father's housekeeper before their marriage.

His novel The Red Room (Röda rummet) (1879) brought him fame. His early plays were written in the Naturalistic style, and his works from this time are often compared with the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The best-known play from this period is Miss Julia (Fröken Julie).

Later, he underwent a time of inner turmoil known as the Inferno Period, which culminated in the production of a book written in French, Inferno.

Afterwards he broke with Naturalism and began to produce works informed by Symbolism. He is considered one of the pioneers of the Modern European stage and Expressionism. The Dance of Death (Dödsdansen) and A Ghost Sonata (Spöksonatan) are well-known plays from this period.

It is not so widely known that he also was a telegrapher, painter, photographer and alchemist.

As a young student, before he became a writer, he worked for a while as an assistant in a chemist's shop in the university town of Lund in southern Sweden.

On his passing in 1912, August Strindberg was interred in the Norra begravningsplatsen in Stockholm.

See also

Bibliography

  • The Outlaw, 1871
  • From Fjerdingen and Svartbäcken, short stories, 1877
  • Master Olof, drama, 1872
  • The Red Room, novel, 1879
  • Swedish People at Work and Play, social history, 1881-1882
  • The New Country, novel, 1882
  • Lucky Pehr, drama, 1883
  • Swedish Destiny and Adventure, I-IV, short stories, 1882-1891
  • Poetry in Verse and Prose, 1883
  • Sleepwalker Awakens to the Day, fiction, 1884
  • Married I-II, short stories, 1884-1886
  • Utopian on Reality, short stories, 1885
  • Son of a Servant, I-V, autobiography, 1886-1909
  • Natives of Hëmso, novel, 1887
  • The Defense's Speech of a Fool, 1887-1895
  • The Father, drama, 1887
  • Miss Julie, drama, 1888
  • Life of an Island Lad, short story, 1888
  • Pariah, 1889
  • Among French Peasants, 1889
  • Creditors, drama, 1888-1889
  • A Dream Play, drama, 1902

External links

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