Features October 2012
On the life and legacy of the Swedish writer August Strindberg.
In twenty-first-century America, August Strindberg (1849–1912) is known as a “classic” writer, but his actual works are familiar primarily to drama students and nonprofit-theater directors. A few of Strindberg’s plays—Miss Julie, The Father, Master Olof, The Dance of Death, The Ghost Sonata, The Stronger—have worked their way into the canon. As much as their excellence, the fact that these works provide some powerful monologues for acting students has ensured their survival there. But does anyone outside of Sweden have any conception of Strindberg the satirist, the radical, the rebel, the humorist, the historian, the novelist, the feminist, the hypnotist, the painter, the photographer, the alchemist, the wild eccentric?
The last big biography of Strindberg was Michael Meyer’s in 1985, a hefty tome that concentrated largely on Strindberg the sexist,...
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