Richard Bergh, Portrait of August Strindberg, 1905, Oil on canvas

The unhappiest moment of his life was the hour of his birth.” So reads the first sentence of a biography of August Strindberg published in the Forties, with its then familiar inference that Strindberg’s existence had begun in deprivation and was resumed under lifelong persecution. In recent years, however, an increasingly revised opinion has refuted any conclusion arrived at by accepting Strindberg at his own estimate. Olof Lagercrantz’s biography

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