August Strindberg
Overview
Johan August Strindberg was a Swedish
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg's career spanned four decades, during which time he wrote over 60 plays and more than 30 works of fiction, autobiography, history, cultural analysis, and politics. A bold experimenter
Experimental theatre
Experimental theatre is a general term for various movements in Western theatre that began in the late 19th century as a retraction against the dominant vent governing the writing and production of dramatical menstrophy, and age in particular. The term has shifted over time as the mainstream...

 and iconoclast throughout, he explored a wide range of drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

tic methods and purposes, from naturalistic
Naturalism (theatre)
Naturalism is a movement in European drama and theatre that developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It refers to theatre that attempts to create a perfect illusion of reality through a range of dramatic and theatrical strategies: detailed, three-dimensional settings Naturalism is a...

 tragedy
Tragedy
Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of...

, monodrama
Monodrama
A monodrama is a theatrical or operatic piece played by a single actor or singer, usually portraying one character.- Monodrama in opera :...

, and history plays, to his anticipations of expressionist and surrealist
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

 dramatic techniques.
Quotations

People who keep dogs are cowards who haven't got the guts to bite people themselves.

In that first prolific period of painting,my painting had a theraputic function.(Strindberg was also a talented amateur painter)

When is revolution legal? When it succeeds!

I loathe people who keep dogs. They are cowards who haven't got the guts to bite people.

What is economics? A science invented by the upper class in order to acquire the fruits of the labor of the underclass.

When they say Christ descended into Hell, they mean that he descended to earth, this penitentiary, this madhouse and morgue of a world.

Woman, being small and foolish and therefore evil, should be suppressed like barbarians and thieves. She is useful only as an ovary and womb, best of all as a cunt.

By aiming for the impossible, you reach the highest level of the possible. (Or: To reach for the outmost possibility, you've got to aim for the impossible)

See you in my next book, you bastard! (From a letter to a journalist who had criticized his work)

Encyclopedia
Johan August Strindberg was a Swedish
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg's career spanned four decades, during which time he wrote over 60 plays and more than 30 works of fiction, autobiography, history, cultural analysis, and politics. A bold experimenter
Experimental theatre
Experimental theatre is a general term for various movements in Western theatre that began in the late 19th century as a retraction against the dominant vent governing the writing and production of dramatical menstrophy, and age in particular. The term has shifted over time as the mainstream...

 and iconoclast throughout, he explored a wide range of drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

tic methods and purposes, from naturalistic
Naturalism (theatre)
Naturalism is a movement in European drama and theatre that developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It refers to theatre that attempts to create a perfect illusion of reality through a range of dramatic and theatrical strategies: detailed, three-dimensional settings Naturalism is a...

 tragedy
Tragedy
Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of...

, monodrama
Monodrama
A monodrama is a theatrical or operatic piece played by a single actor or singer, usually portraying one character.- Monodrama in opera :...

, and history plays, to his anticipations of expressionist and surrealist
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

 dramatic techniques. From his earliest work, Strindberg developed forms of dramatic action, language, and visual composition so innovative that many were to become technically possible to stage only with the advent of film. He is considered the "father" of modern Swedish literature
Swedish literature
Swedish literature refers to literature written in the Swedish language or by writers from Sweden.The first literary text from Sweden is the Rök Runestone, carved during the Viking Age circa 800 AD. With the conversion of the land to Christianity around 1100 AD, Sweden entered the Middle Ages,...

 and his The Red Room
The Red Room (Strindberg)
The Red Room is a Swedish novel by August Strindberg that was first published in 1879. A satire of Stockholm society, it has frequently been described as the first modern Swedish novel. While receiving mixed reviews in Sweden, it was acclaimed in Denmark, where Strindberg was hailed as a genius. ...

(1879) has frequently been described as the first modern Swedish novel.

The Royal Theatre
Royal Dramatic Theatre
The Royal Dramatic Theatre is Sweden's national stage for "spoken drama", founded in 1788. Around one thousand shows are put on annually on the theatre's eight running stages....

 rejected his first major play, Master Olof
Master Olof
Master Olof is a historical drama in five acts by the Swedish playwright August Strindberg. The story is about the reformer Olaus Petri's struggle against the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century...

, in 1872; it was not until 1881, at the age of 32, that its première at the New Theatre
Swedish Theatre (Stockholm)
The Swedish Theatre in Stockholm was, at the beginning of the 20th century, Sweden's largest dramatic theatre. During its years in use, from 1875 to 1925, it was often considered as Sweden's foremost national theatre...

 gave him his theatrical breakthrough. In his plays The Father (1887), Miss Julie
Miss Julie
Miss Julie is a naturalistic play written in 1888 by August Strindberg dealing with class, love, lust, the battle of the sexes, and the interaction among them...

(1888), and Creditors
Creditors (play)
Creditors is a naturalistic tragicomedy by the Swedish playwright August Strindberg. It was written in Swedish during August and September 1888 in Denmark. It was first published in Danish in February 1889 and appeared in Swedish in 1890. It premièred at the Dagmar Theatre in Copenhagen in March...

(1889), he created naturalistic dramas that—building on the established accomplishments of Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of prose drama" and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre...

's prose
Prose
Prose is the most typical form of written language, applying ordinary grammatical structure and natural flow of speech rather than rhythmic structure...

 problem plays while rejecting their use of the structure
Dramatic structure
Dramatic structure is the structure of a dramatic work such as a play or film. Many scholars have analyzed dramatic structure, beginning with Aristotle in his Poetics...

 of the well-made play
Well-made play
The well-made play is a genre of drama from the 19th century that Eugène Scribe first codified and that Victorien Sardou developed. By the mid-19th century, it had entered into common use as a derogatory term...

—responded to the call-to-arms of Émile Zola
Émile Zola
Émile François Zola was a French writer, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism...

's manifesto "Naturalism in the Theatre" (1881) and the example set by André Antoine
André Antoine
André Antoine was a French actor, theatre manager, film director, author, and critic who is considered the father of modern mise en scène in France.-Biography:...

's newly-established Théâtre Libre
Théâtre Libre
The Théâtre Libre was a theatre company that operated from 1887 to 1896 in the Montmartre district of Paris, France.-History:Théâtre Libre was founded on 30 March 1887 by André Antoine, who wanted to create a dramatization of an Émile Zola novel, Thérèse Raquin after the theater group for which he...

 (opened 1887). In Miss Julie, characterisation
Characterisation
Characterization or characterisation is the art of creating characters for a narrative, including the process of conveying information about them. It may be employed in dramatic works of art or everyday conversation...

 replaces plot as the predominant dramatic element (in contrast to melodrama
Melodrama
The term melodrama refers to a dramatic work that exaggerates plot and characters in order to appeal to the emotions. It may also refer to the genre which includes such works, or to language, behavior, or events which resemble them...

 and the well-made play) and the determining role of heredity
Heredity
Heredity is the passing of traits to offspring . This is the process by which an offspring cell or organism acquires or becomes predisposed to the characteristics of its parent cell or organism. Through heredity, variations exhibited by individuals can accumulate and cause some species to evolve...

 and the environment
Social environment
The social environment of an individual, also called social context or milieu, is the culture that s/he was educated or lives in, and the people and institutions with whom the person interacts....

 on the "vacillating, disintegrated" characters is emphasised. Strindberg modelled his short-lived Scandinavian Experimental Theatre (1889) in Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

 on Antoine's theatre and he explored the theory of Naturalism in his essays "On Psychic Murder" (1887), "On Modern Drama and the Modern Theatre" (1889), and a preface to Miss Julie, the last of which is probably the best-known statement of the principles of the theatrical movement.

During the 1890s he spent significant time abroad engaged in scientific experiments and studies of the occult
Occult
The word occult comes from the Latin word occultus , referring to "knowledge of the hidden". In the medical sense it is used to refer to a structure or process that is hidden, e.g...

. A series of psychotic
Psychosis
Psychosis means abnormal condition of the mind, and is a generic psychiatric term for a mental state often described as involving a "loss of contact with reality"...

 attacks between 1894 to 1896 (referred to as his "Inferno crisis") led to his hospitalisation and return to Sweden. Under the influence of the ideas of Emanuel Swedenborg
Emanuel Swedenborg
was a Swedish scientist, philosopher, and theologian. He has been termed a Christian mystic by some sources, including the Encyclopædia Britannica online version, and the Encyclopedia of Religion , which starts its article with the description that he was a "Swedish scientist and mystic." Others...

, he resolved after his recovery to become "the Zola of the Occult." In 1898 he returned to playwriting with To Damascus
To Damascus
To Damascus , also known as The Road to Damascus, is a trilogy of plays by the Swedish playwright August Strindberg. The first two parts were published in 1898, with the third following in 1904...

, which, like The Great Highway
The Great Highway
The Great Highway is the last play by August Strindberg, written in 1909. The original title is Stora landsvägen....

(1909), is a dream-play of spiritual pilgrimage
Pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...

. His A Dream Play
A Dream Play
A Dream Play was written in 1901 by the Swedish playwright August Strindberg. It was first performed in Stockholm on 17 April 1907. It remains one of Strindberg's most admired and influential dramas, seen as an important precursor to both dramatic Expressionism and Surrealism.-Plot:The primary...

(1902)—with its radical attempt to dramatise the workings of the unconscious
Unconscious mind
The unconscious mind is a term coined by the 18th century German romantic philosopher Friedrich Schelling and later introduced into English by the poet and essayist Samuel Taylor Coleridge...

 by means of an abolition of conventional dramatic time and space and the splitting, doubling, merging, and multiplication of its characters—was an important precursor to both expressionism and surrealism. He also returned to writing historical drama, the genre with which he had begun his playwriting career. He helped to run the Intimate Theatre
Strindbergs Intima Teater
Strindbergs Intima Teater or Intima teatern, is a theatre stage in Stockholm, Sweden. It was founded and managed by the famous Swedish playwright August Strindberg between the years 1907-1910...

 from 1907, a small-scale theatre, modelled on Max Reinhardt
Max Reinhardt
----Max Reinhardt was an Austrian theater and film director and actor.-Biography:...

's Kammerspielhaus, that staged his chamber play
Chamber play
A chamber play is play of usually three acts which can be performed with a small cast and practically no sets or costumes in a small space. The form became popular in the early 20th century, with leading exponents being Max Reinhardt and August Strindberg., first it was adapted to cinema in 1920s,...

s (such as The Ghost Sonata
The Ghost Sonata
The Ghost Sonata is a play in three acts by Swedish playwright August Strindberg. Written in 1907, it was first produced at Strindberg's Intimate Theatre in Stockholm on January 21, 1908. Since then, it has been staged by such notable directors as Max Reinhardt, Olof Molander, Roger Blin, and...

).

Youth

Strindberg was born on 22 January 1849 in Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, the third surviving son of Carl Oscar Strindberg (a shipping agent) and Eleonora Ulrika Norling (a serving-maid). In his autobiographical novel The Son of a Servant
The Son of a Servant
The Son of a Servant is the autobiographical novel of August Strindberg in four parts, published between 1886 and 1909....

, Strindberg describes a childhood affected by "emotional insecurity, poverty, religious fanaticism and neglect.". When he was seven, Strindberg moved to Norrtullsgatan on the northern, almost-rural periphery of the city. A year later the family moved near to Sabbatsberg, where they stayed for three years before returning to Norrtullsgatan. He attended a harsh school in Klara for four years, an experience that haunted him in his adult life. He was moved to the school in Jakob in 1860, which he found far more pleasant, though he remained there for only a year. In the autumn of 1861, he was moved to the Stockholm Lyceum
Stockholms Lyceum
Stockholms lyceum was a private secondary school in Stockholm, Sweden, functioning from 1839 until 1875.The Lyceum was opened in 1839 by Claes Olof Ramström. He transferred the school in 1851 to Dr Carl Johan Bohman and Dr Otto von Feilitzen, who ran the school until 1875, when it was merged with...

, a progressive private school for middle-class boys, where he remained for six years. As a child he had a keen interest in natural science, photography, and religion (following his mother's Pietism
Pietism
Pietism was a movement within Lutheranism, lasting from the late 17th century to the mid-18th century and later. It proved to be very influential throughout Protestantism and Anabaptism, inspiring not only Anglican priest John Wesley to begin the Methodist movement, but also Alexander Mack to...

). His mother, Strindberg recalled later with bitterness, always resented her son's intelligence. When he was thirteen, she died. Though his grief lasted for only three months, in later life he came to feel a sense of loss and longing for an idealised maternal figure. Less than a year after her death, his father married the children's governess
Governess
A governess is a girl or woman employed to teach and train children in a private household. In contrast to a nanny or a babysitter, she concentrates on teaching children, not on meeting their physical needs...

, Emilia Charlotta Pettersson. According to his sisters, Strindberg came to regard them as his worst enemies. He passed his graduation exam
Studentexamen
Studentexamen is the name of the university entrance examination in Sweden from the 17th century until 1968, during the period 1862–1968 taken as a final written and oral exam on graduation from gymnasium...

 in May 1867 and enrolled at the Uppsala University
Uppsala University
Uppsala University is a research university in Uppsala, Sweden, and is the oldest university in Scandinavia, founded in 1477. It consistently ranks among the best universities in Northern Europe in international rankings and is generally considered one of the most prestigious institutions of...

, where he began on 13 September.

Strindberg spent the next few years in Uppsala
Uppsala
- Economy :Today Uppsala is well established in medical research and recognized for its leading position in biotechnology.*Abbott Medical Optics *GE Healthcare*Pfizer *Phadia, an offshoot of Pharmacia*Fresenius*Q-Med...

 and Stockholm, alternately studying for exams and trying his hand at non-academic pursuits. As a young student, Strindberg also worked as an assistant in a pharmacy in the university town of Lund
Lund
-Main sights:During the 12th and 13th centuries, when the town was the seat of the archbishop, many churches and monasteries were built. At its peak, Lund had 27 churches, but most of them were demolished as result of the Reformation in 1536. Several medieval buildings remain, including Lund...

 in southern Sweden. He supported himself in between studies as a substitute primary-school teacher and as a tutor for the children of two well-known physicians in Stockholm. He first left Uppsala in 1868 to work as a schoolteacher, but then studied chemistry for some time at the Institute of Technology
Royal Institute of Technology
The Royal Institute of Technology is a university in Stockholm, Sweden. KTH was founded in 1827 as Sweden's first polytechnic and is one of Scandinavia's largest institutions of higher education in technology. KTH accounts for one-third of Sweden’s technical research and engineering education...

 in Stockholm in preparation for medical studies, later working as a private tutor before becoming an extra at the Royal Theatre
Royal Dramatic Theatre
The Royal Dramatic Theatre is Sweden's national stage for "spoken drama", founded in 1788. Around one thousand shows are put on annually on the theatre's eight running stages....

 in Stockholm. In May 1869, he failed his qualifying chemistry exam which in turn made him uninterested in schooling.

1870s

Strindberg returned to Uppsala University
Uppsala University
Uppsala University is a research university in Uppsala, Sweden, and is the oldest university in Scandinavia, founded in 1477. It consistently ranks among the best universities in Northern Europe in international rankings and is generally considered one of the most prestigious institutions of...

 in January 1870 to study aesthetics
Aesthetics
Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste...

 and modern language
Modern language
A modern language is any human language that is currently in use. The term is used in language education to distinguish between languages which are used for day-to-day communication and dead classical languages such as Latin, Attic Greek, Sanskrit, and Classical Chinese, which are studied for...

s and to work on a number of plays. It was at this time that he first learnt about the ideas of Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

. He co-founded the Rune Society, a small literary club whose members adopted pseudonyms taken from runes
Runic alphabet
The runic alphabets are a set of related alphabets using letters known as runes to write various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialized purposes thereafter...

 of the ancient Teutonic
Teutons
The Teutons or Teutones were mentioned as a Germanic tribe by Greek and Roman authors, notably Strabo and Marcus Velleius Paterculus and normally in close connection with the Cimbri, whose ethnicity is contested between Gauls and Germani...

 alphabet—Strindberg called himself Frö
Freyr
Freyr is one of the most important gods of Norse paganism. Freyr was highly associated with farming, weather and, as a phallic fertility god, Freyr "bestows peace and pleasure on mortals"...

 (Seed), after the god of fertility. After abandoning a draft of a play about Eric XIV of Sweden
Eric XIV of Sweden
-Family and descendants:Eric XIV had several relationships before his marriage. With Agda Persdotter he had four daughters:#Margareta Eriksdotter , married 1592 to Olov Simonsson, vicar of Horn....

 halfway through in the face of criticism from the Rune Society, on the 30 March he completed a one-act comedy in verse
Verse (poetry)
A verse is formally a single line in a metrical composition, e.g. poetry. However, the word has come to represent any division or grouping of words in such a composition, which traditionally had been referred to as a stanza....

 called In Rome about Bertel Thorvaldsen
Bertel Thorvaldsen
Bertel Thorvaldsen was a Danish-Icelandic sculptor of international fame, who spent most of his life in Italy . Thorvaldsen was born in Copenhagen into a Danish/Icelandic family of humble means, and was accepted to the Royal Academy of Arts when he was eleven years old...

, which he had begun the previous autumn. The play was accepted by the Royal Theatre
Royal Dramatic Theatre
The Royal Dramatic Theatre is Sweden's national stage for "spoken drama", founded in 1788. Around one thousand shows are put on annually on the theatre's eight running stages....

, where it premièred on 13 September 1870. As he watched it performed, he realised that it was not good and felt like drowning himself, though the reviews published the following day were generally favourable. That year he also first read works of Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish Christian philosopher, theologian and religious author. He was a critic of idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel...

 and Georg Brandes
Georg Brandes
Georg Morris Cohen Brandes was a Danish critic and scholar who had great influence on Scandinavian and European literature from the 1870s through the turn of the 20th century. He is seen as the theorist behind the "Modern Breakthrough" of Scandinavian culture...

, both of whom influenced him.
Taking his cue from William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

, he began to use colloquial
Colloquialism
A colloquialism is a word or phrase that is common in everyday, unconstrained conversation rather than in formal speech, academic writing, or paralinguistics. Dictionaries often display colloquial words and phrases with the abbreviation colloq. as an identifier...

 and realistic speech in his historical dramas, which challenged the convention that they should be written in stately verse. During the Christmas holiday of 1870–71, he re-wrote an historical tragedy, Sven the Sacrificer, as a one-act play in prose called The Outlaw. Depressed by Uppsala, he stayed in Stockholm, returning to the university in April to pass an exam in Latin and in June to defend his thesis on Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger
Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger
Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger was a Danish poet and playwright. He introduced romanticism into Danish literature.-Biography:He was born in Vesterbro, then a suburb of Copenhagen, on 14 November 1779...

's Romantic
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 tragedy
Tragedy
Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of...

 Earl Haakon (1802). Following further revision in the summer, The Outlaw opened at the Royal Theatre on 16 October 1871. Despite hostile reviews, the play earned him an audience with King Charles XV
Charles XV of Sweden
Charles XV & IV also Carl ; Swedish and Norwegian: Karl was King of Sweden and Norway from 1859 until his death....

, who supported his studies with a payment of 200 riksdaler
Swedish riksdaler
The riksdaler was the name of a Swedish coin first minted in 1604. Between 1777 and 1873, it was the currency of Sweden. The daler, like the dollar, was named after the German Thaler. The similarly named Reichsthaler, rijksdaalder, and rigsdaler were used in Germany and Austria-Hungary, the...

. Towards the end of the year Strindberg completed a first draft of his first major work, a play about Olaus Petri
Olaus Petri
Olof Persson , better known under the Latin form of his name, Olaus Petri , was a clergyman, writer, and a major contributor to the Protestant Reformation in Sweden...

 called Master Olof
Master Olof
Master Olof is a historical drama in five acts by the Swedish playwright August Strindberg. The story is about the reformer Olaus Petri's struggle against the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century...

. In September 1872, the Royal Theatre
Royal Dramatic Theatre
The Royal Dramatic Theatre is Sweden's national stage for "spoken drama", founded in 1788. Around one thousand shows are put on annually on the theatre's eight running stages....

 rejected it, which initiated decades of rewrites and insprited a bitterness and contempt for official institutions in Strindberg. Returning to the university for what would be his final term in the spring, he left on 2 March 1872, without graduating. In Town and Gown (1877), a collection of short stories describing student life, he ridiculed Uppsala and its professors.

Strindberg embarked on his career as a journalist and critic for newspapers in Stockholm. He was particularly excited at this time by Henry Thomas Buckle
Henry Thomas Buckle
Henry Thomas Buckle was an English historian, author of an unfinished History of Civilization.- Biography :...

's History of Civilization and the first volume of Georg Brandes' Main Currents of Nineteenth-Century Literature. From December 1874, Strindberg worked for eight years as an assistant librarian at the Royal Library. That same month, Strindberg offered Master Olof
Master Olof
Master Olof is a historical drama in five acts by the Swedish playwright August Strindberg. The story is about the reformer Olaus Petri's struggle against the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century...

to Edvard Stjernström (the director of the newly-built New Theatre
Swedish Theatre (Stockholm)
The Swedish Theatre in Stockholm was, at the beginning of the 20th century, Sweden's largest dramatic theatre. During its years in use, from 1875 to 1925, it was often considered as Sweden's foremost national theatre...

 in Stockholm), but it was rejected. He socialised with writers, painters, journalists, and other librarians; they often met in the Red Room in Bern's Restaurant
Berns Salonger
Berns Salonger is a restaurant and entertainment venue, in Berzelii Park, in central Stockholm, Sweden. The building was constructed from 1862–63, by H.R. Berns. The building was extended in 1886. Berns often holds concerts and other shows and has a capacity of 1,200.Berns is the setting for the...

.

Early in the summer of 1875, he met Siri von Essen
Siri von Essen
Siri von Essen was a Swedish-speaking Finnish noblewoman and actress. She was married to Baron Carl Gustaf Wrangel between 1872–76, with whom she had a daughter, Sigrid. After their divorce, she married the Swedish dramatist and writer August Strindberg; they were married between 1877–91...

, a 24-year-old aspiring actress who, by virtue of her husband, was a baron
Baron
Baron is a title of nobility. The word baron comes from Old French baron, itself from Old High German and Latin baro meaning " man, warrior"; it merged with cognate Old English beorn meaning "nobleman"...

ess—he became infatuated with her. Strindberg described himself as a "failed author" at this time: "I feel like a deaf-mute," he wrote, "as I cannot speak and am not permitted to write; sometimes I stand in the middle of my room that seems like a prison cell, and then I want to scream so that walls and ceilings would fly apart, and I have so much to scream about, and therefore I remain silent." As a result of an argument in January 1876 concerning the inheritance of the family firm, Strindberg's relationship with his father was terminated (he did not attend his funeral in February 1883). From the beginning of 1876, Strindberg and Siri began to meet in secret. Following a successful audition that December, Siri became an actress at the Royal Theatre
Royal Dramatic Theatre
The Royal Dramatic Theatre is Sweden's national stage for "spoken drama", founded in 1788. Around one thousand shows are put on annually on the theatre's eight running stages....

. They married a year later, on 30 December 1877; Siri was seven months pregnant at the time. Their first child was born prematurely on 21 January 1878 and died two days later. On 9 January 1879, Strindberg was declared bankrupt
Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is a legal status of an insolvent person or an organisation, that is, one that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor....

. In November 1879, his novel The Red Room
The Red Room (Strindberg)
The Red Room is a Swedish novel by August Strindberg that was first published in 1879. A satire of Stockholm society, it has frequently been described as the first modern Swedish novel. While receiving mixed reviews in Sweden, it was acclaimed in Denmark, where Strindberg was hailed as a genius. ...

was published. A satire of Stockholm society, it has frequently been described as the first modern Swedish novel. While receiving mixed reviews in Sweden, it was acclaimed in Denmark, where Strindberg was hailed as a genius. As a result of The Red Room, he had become famous throughout Scandinavia. Edvard Brandes
Edvard Brandes
Carl Edvard Cohen Brandes was a Danish politician, critic and author, and the younger brother of Georg Brandes and Ernst Brandes. He was a Ph.D. in eastern philology....

 wrote that the novel "makes the reader want to join the fight against hypocrisy and reaction." In his response to Brandes, Strindberg explained that:

1880s

Strindberg and Siri's daughter Karin was born on 26 February 1880. Buoyant from the reception of The Red Room
The Red Room (Strindberg)
The Red Room is a Swedish novel by August Strindberg that was first published in 1879. A satire of Stockholm society, it has frequently been described as the first modern Swedish novel. While receiving mixed reviews in Sweden, it was acclaimed in Denmark, where Strindberg was hailed as a genius. ...

, Strindberg swiftly completed The Secret of the Guild, an historical drama set in Uppsala
Uppsala
- Economy :Today Uppsala is well established in medical research and recognized for its leading position in biotechnology.*Abbott Medical Optics *GE Healthcare*Pfizer *Phadia, an offshoot of Pharmacia*Fresenius*Q-Med...

 at the beginning of the 15th century about the conflict between two masons over the completion of the city cathedral, which opened at the Royal Theatre
Royal Dramatic Theatre
The Royal Dramatic Theatre is Sweden's national stage for "spoken drama", founded in 1788. Around one thousand shows are put on annually on the theatre's eight running stages....

 on 3 May 1880 (his first première in nine years); Siri
Siri von Essen
Siri von Essen was a Swedish-speaking Finnish noblewoman and actress. She was married to Baron Carl Gustaf Wrangel between 1872–76, with whom she had a daughter, Sigrid. After their divorce, she married the Swedish dramatist and writer August Strindberg; they were married between 1877–91...

 played Margaretha. That spring he formed a friendship with the painter Carl Larsson
Carl Larsson
Carl Larsson was a Swedish painter and interior designer, representative of the Arts and Crafts Movement. His many paintings include oils, watercolors, and frescoes...

. A collected edition of all of Strindberg's previous writings was published under the title Spring Harvest. From 1881, at the invitation of Edvard Brandes
Edvard Brandes
Carl Edvard Cohen Brandes was a Danish politician, critic and author, and the younger brother of Georg Brandes and Ernst Brandes. He was a Ph.D. in eastern philology....

, Strindberg began to contribute articles to the Morgenbladet, a Copenhagen daily newspaper. In April he began work on The Swedish People, a four-part cultural history of Sweden written as a series of depictions of ordinary people's lives from the 9th century onwards, which he undertook mainly for financial reasons and which absorbed him for the next year; Larsson provided illustrations. At Strindberg's insistence, Siri resigned from the Royal Theatre in the spring, having become pregnant again. Their second daughter, Greta, was born on 9 June 1881, while they were staying on the island of Kymmendö
Kymmendö
Kymmendö is an island in the south of Stockholm archipelago. Kymmendö is the model for the fictional island Hemsö in August Strindberg's novel Natives of Hemsö....

. That month, a collection of essays from the past ten years, Studies in Cultural History, was published. Ludvig Josephson (the new artistic director of Stockholm's New Theatre
Swedish Theatre (Stockholm)
The Swedish Theatre in Stockholm was, at the beginning of the 20th century, Sweden's largest dramatic theatre. During its years in use, from 1875 to 1925, it was often considered as Sweden's foremost national theatre...

) agreed to stage Master Olof
Master Olof
Master Olof is a historical drama in five acts by the Swedish playwright August Strindberg. The story is about the reformer Olaus Petri's struggle against the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century...

, eventually opting for the prose version—the five-hour-long production opened on 30 December 1881 under the direction of August Lindberg to favourable reviews. While this production of Master Olaf was his breakthrough in the theatre, Strindberg's five-act fairy-tale
Fairy tale
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

 play Lucky Peter's Journey, which opened on 22 December 1883, brought him his first significant success, although he dismissed it as a potboiler
Potboiler
Potboiler or pot-boiler is a term used to describe a poor quality novel, play, opera, or film, or other creative work that was created quickly to make money to pay for the creator's daily expenses . Authors who create potboiler novels or screenplays are sometimes called hack writers...

. In March 1882 he wrote in a letter to Josephson: "My interest in the theatre, I must frankly state, has but one focus and one goal—my wife's career as an actress"; Josephson duly cast her in two roles the following season.

Having returned to Kymmendö during the summer of 1882, Strindberg wrote a collection of anti-establishment
Anti-establishment
An anti-establishment view or belief is one which stands in opposition to the conventional social, political, and economic principles of a society. The term was first used in the modern sense in 1958, by the British magazine New Statesman to refer to its political and social agenda...

 short stories, The New Kingdom. While there, to provide a lead role for his wife and as a reply to Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of prose drama" and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre...

's A Doll's House
A Doll's House
A Doll's House is a three-act play in prose by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It premièred at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 21 December 1879, having been published earlier that month....

(1879), he also wrote Sir Bengt's Wife, which opened on 25 November 1882 at the New Theatre. He moved to Grez-sur-Loing, just south of Paris, France, where Larsson was staying. He then moved to Paris, which they found noisy and polluted. Income earned from Lucky Peter's Journey enabled him to move to Switzerland in 1883. He resided in Ouchy
Ouchy
Ouchy is a commune, port, and popular lakeside resort located south of the city of Lausanne in Switzerland at the edge of the Lake Léman ....

, where he stayed for some years. On 3 April 1884, Siri gave birth to their son, Hans.
In 1884 Strindberg wrote a collection of short stories, Getting Married, that presented women in an egalitarian light and for which he was tried for and acquitted of blasphemy
Blasphemy
Blasphemy is irreverence towards religious or holy persons or things. Some countries have laws to punish blasphemy, while others have laws to give recourse to those who are offended by blasphemy...

 in Sweden. Two groups "led by influential members of the upper classes, supported by the right-wing press" probably instigated the prosecution; at the time, most people in Stockholm thought that Queen Sophia was behind it. By the end of that year Strindberg was in a despondent mood: "My view now is," he wrote, "everything is shit. No way out. The skein is too tangled to be unravelled. It can only be sheared. The building is too solid to be pulled down. It can only be blown up." In May 1885 he wrote: "I am on my way to becoming an atheist." In the wake of the publication of Getting Married, he began to correspond with Émile Zola
Émile Zola
Émile François Zola was a French writer, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism...

. During the summer he completed a sequel volume of stories, though some were quite different in tone from those of the first. Another collection of stories, Utopias in Reality, was published in September 1885, though it was not well-received.

In 1885, they moved back to Paris. In September 1887 he began to write a novel in French about his relationship with Siri von Essen called The Confession of a Fool. In 1887, they moved to Issigatsbühl, near Lindau
Lindau
Lindau is a Bavarian town and an island on the eastern side of Lake Constance, the Bodensee. It is the capital of the Landkreis or rural district of Lindau. The historic city of Lindau is located on an island which is connected with the mainland by bridge and railway.- History :The name Lindau was...

 by Lake Constance
Lake Constance
Lake Constance is a lake on the Rhine at the northern foot of the Alps, and consists of three bodies of water: the Obersee , the Untersee , and a connecting stretch of the Rhine, called the Seerhein.The lake is situated in Germany, Switzerland and Austria near the Alps...

. His next play, Comrades (1886), was his first in a contemporary setting. After the trial he evaluated his religious beliefs, he concluded he need to leave Lutheranism
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

, which he had been since childhood, and after briefly being a deist, he became an atheist. He needed a credo
Credo
A credo |Latin]] for "I Believe") is a statement of belief, commonly used for religious belief, such as the Apostles' Creed. The term especially refers to the use of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed in the Mass, either as text, Gregorian chant, or other musical settings of the...

 and he used Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of 18th-century Romanticism. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought.His novel Émile: or, On Education is a treatise...

 nature worshiping as one, which he had studied while a student. His works The People of Hemsö (1887) and Among French Peasants (1889) were influenced by his study of Rousseau. He then moved to Germany, where he fell in love with Chancellor
Chancellor
Chancellor is the title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the Cancellarii of Roman courts of justice—ushers who sat at the cancelli or lattice work screens of a basilica or law court, which separated the judge and counsel from the...

 Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

's Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 status of the officer corps. After that, he grew very critical of Rousseau and turned to Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

's philosophies, which emphasized the male intellect. Nietzsche's influence can be seen in The Confession of a Fool (1888), Pariah (1889), Creditors
Creditors (play)
Creditors is a naturalistic tragicomedy by the Swedish playwright August Strindberg. It was written in Swedish during August and September 1888 in Denmark. It was first published in Danish in February 1889 and appeared in Swedish in 1890. It premièred at the Dagmar Theatre in Copenhagen in March...

(1889), and By the Open Sea (1890).

Another change in his life after the trial is that Strindberg decided he wanted a scientific life instead of a literary one, and began to write about non-literary subjects. When he was 37, he began The Son of a Servant
The Son of a Servant
The Son of a Servant is the autobiographical novel of August Strindberg in four parts, published between 1886 and 1909....

, a four-part autobiography. The first part ends in 1867, the year he left home for Uppsala. Part two describes his youth up to 1872. Part three, or The Red Room, is when he is a poet and journalist and it ends with him meeting Siri von Essen
Siri von Essen
Siri von Essen was a Swedish-speaking Finnish noblewoman and actress. She was married to Baron Carl Gustaf Wrangel between 1872–76, with whom she had a daughter, Sigrid. After their divorce, she married the Swedish dramatist and writer August Strindberg; they were married between 1877–91...

. Part four, which dealt with the years spanning from 1877 to 1886, was banned by his publishers and was not published until after his death. The three missing years, 1875–1877, was the time Strindberg was wooing von Essen and their marriage; entitled He and She, it was not printed until 1919, after his death. It contains the love letters between the two during that period.

In the later half of the 1880s Strindberg discovered Naturalism
Naturalism (theatre)
Naturalism is a movement in European drama and theatre that developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It refers to theatre that attempts to create a perfect illusion of reality through a range of dramatic and theatrical strategies: detailed, three-dimensional settings Naturalism is a...

. After completing The Father in matter of weeks, he sent a copy to Émile Zola
Émile Zola
Émile François Zola was a French writer, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism...

 for his approval, though his reaction was lukewarm. The drama revolves around the conflict between the Captain, a father, husband, and scientist, and his wife, Laura, over the education of their only child, a fourteen-year-old daughter named Berta. Through unscrupulous means, Laura gets the Captain to doubt his fatherhood until he suffers a mental and physical collapse. While writing The Father, Strindberg himself was experiencing marital problems and doubted the paternity of his children. He also suspected that Ibsen had based Hjalmar Ekdal in The Wild Duck
The Wild Duck
The Wild Duck is an 1884 play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.-Plot:The first act opens with a dinner party hosted by Håkon Werle, a wealthy merchant and industrialist. The gathering is attended by his son, Gregers Werle, who has just returned to his father's home following a self-imposed...

(1884) on Strindberg because he felt that Ibsen viewed him as a weak and pathetic husband; he reworked the situation of Ibsen's play into a warfare between the two sexes. From November 1887 to April 1889, Strindberg stayed in Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

. While there he had several opportunites to meet with both Georg Brandes
Georg Brandes
Georg Morris Cohen Brandes was a Danish critic and scholar who had great influence on Scandinavian and European literature from the 1870s through the turn of the 20th century. He is seen as the theorist behind the "Modern Breakthrough" of Scandinavian culture...

 and his brother Edvard Brandes
Edvard Brandes
Carl Edvard Cohen Brandes was a Danish politician, critic and author, and the younger brother of Georg Brandes and Ernst Brandes. He was a Ph.D. in eastern philology....

. Georg helped him put on The Father, which had its première on 14 November 1887 at the Casino Theatre in Copenhagen. It enjoyed a successful run for eleven days after which it toured the Danish provinces.

Before writing Creditors
Creditors (play)
Creditors is a naturalistic tragicomedy by the Swedish playwright August Strindberg. It was written in Swedish during August and September 1888 in Denmark. It was first published in Danish in February 1889 and appeared in Swedish in 1890. It premièred at the Dagmar Theatre in Copenhagen in March...

, Strindberg completed one of his most famous pieces, Miss Julie
Miss Julie
Miss Julie is a naturalistic play written in 1888 by August Strindberg dealing with class, love, lust, the battle of the sexes, and the interaction among them...

. He wrote the play with a Parisian stage in mind, in particular the Théâtre Libre
Théâtre Libre
The Théâtre Libre was a theatre company that operated from 1887 to 1896 in the Montmartre district of Paris, France.-History:Théâtre Libre was founded on 30 March 1887 by André Antoine, who wanted to create a dramatization of an Émile Zola novel, Thérèse Raquin after the theater group for which he...

, founded in 1887 by Andre Antoine
André Antoine
André Antoine was a French actor, theatre manager, film director, author, and critic who is considered the father of modern mise en scène in France.-Biography:...

. In the play he used Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

's theory of survival of the fittest
Survival of the fittest
"Survival of the fittest" is a phrase originating in evolutionary theory, as an alternative description of Natural selection. The phrase is today commonly used in contexts that are incompatible with the original meaning as intended by its first two proponents: British polymath philosopher Herbert...

 and dramatized a doomed sexual encounter that crosses the division of social classes. As the "son of a servant," it is believed this play was inspired by his marriage to an aristocratic woman.

In the essay On Psychic Murder (1887), he referred to the psychological theories of the Nancy School
Nancy School
The Nancy School was an early French suggestion-centred school of psychotherapy founded in 1866 by Ambroise-Auguste Liébeault, a follower of the theory of Abbé Faria, in the city of Nancy....

, which advocated the use of hypnosis. Strindberg developed a theory that sexual warfare was not motivated by carnal desire but by relentless human will. The winner was one the one who had the strongest and most unscrupulous mind, someone who, like a hypnotist, could coerce a more impressionable psyche to submission. His view on psychological power struggles may be seen in works such as Creditors (1889), The Stronger (1889), and Pariah (1889).

In 1888, after a separation and reconciliation with Siri von Essen, he founded the Scandinavian Experimental Theatre in Copenhagen, where Siri became manager. He asked writers to send him scripts, which he received from Herman Bang
Herman Bang
Herman Joachim Bang was a Danish author, one of the men of the Modern Breakthrough.-Biography:Bang was born into a noble family of Asserballe, on the small Danish island of Als, the son of a South Jutlandic vicar...

, Gustav Wied
Gustav Wied
Gustav Johannes Wied was a Danish writer.The fifth of the eleven children of Carl August Wied and Catha Wied, Wied was born in Branderslev near Nakskov....

 and Nathalia Larsen. Less than a year later, with the theatre and reconciliation short lived, he moved back to Sweden while Siri moved back to her native Finland with the children. While there, he rode out the final phase of the divorce and later used this agonizing ordeal for the basis of The Bond and the Link (1893). Strindberg also became interested in short drama, called Quart d'heure. He was inspired by writers such as Gustave Guiche and Henri de Lavedan. His notable contribution was The Stronger
The Stronger
The Stronger is a famous 1889 play by August Strindberg. The play is quite short, consisting of only one scene that can be performed in approximately 10 minutes. The characters consist of only two women: a "Mrs. X" and a "Miss. Y", only one of whom speak, an example of a dramatic monologue...

(1889). As a result of the failure of the Scandinavian Experimental Theatre, Strindberg did not work as a playwright for three years. In 1889, he published an essay entitled "On Modern Drama and the Modern Theatre," in which he disassociated himself from naturalism, arguing that it was petty and unimaginative realism. His sympathy for Nietzsche's philosophy and atheism in general were also on the wane. He entered the period of his "Inferno crisis," in which he had psychological and religious upheavals that influenced his later works.

1890s

After his disenchantment with naturalism, Strindberg had a growing interest in transcendental matters. Symbolism
Symbolism (arts)
Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century art movement of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts. In literature, the style had its beginnings with the publication Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire...

 was just beginning at this time. Verner von Heidenstam
Verner von Heidenstam
Carl Gustaf Verner von Heidenstam was a Swedish poet and novelist, a laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1916. He was a member of the Swedish Academy from 1912...

 and Ola Hanson had dismissed naturalism as "shoemaker realism" that rendered human experience in simplistic terms. This is believed to have stalled his creativity, and Strindberg insisted he was in a rivalry and forced to defend naturalism, even though he had exhausted its literary potential. These works include: Debit and Credit (1892), Facing Death (1892), Motherly Love (1892), and The First Warning (1893). His play The Keys of Heaven (1892) was inspired by the loss of his children in his divorce. He also completed one of his few comedies, Playing with Fire (1893) and his post-inferno trilogy To Damascus (1898–1904).

In 1892, he experienced writer's block, which led to a drastic reduction in his income. Depression followed as he was unable to meet his financial obligations and to support his children and former wife. A fund was set up through an appeal in a German magazine. This money allowed him to leave Sweden and he joined artistic circles in Berlin, Germany. Otto Brahm
Otto Brahm
Otto Brahm was a German drama and literary critic, theatre manager and director. His productions were noted for being accurate and realistic. He was involved in the foundation of the progressive Freie Bühne company, of which he became president and producer...

's Freie Bühne theatre premiered some of his famous works in Germany, including The Father, Miss Julie and Creditors
Creditors (play)
Creditors is a naturalistic tragicomedy by the Swedish playwright August Strindberg. It was written in Swedish during August and September 1888 in Denmark. It was first published in Danish in February 1889 and appeared in Swedish in 1890. It premièred at the Dagmar Theatre in Copenhagen in March...

.

Similar to twenty years earlier when he frequented The Red Room, he now went to the German tavern The Black Porker. Here he met a diverse group of artists from Scandinavia, Poland, and Germany. His attention turned to Frida Uhl
Frida Uhl
Frida Uhl was an Austrian writer and translator, who was closely associated to many important figures in 20th-century literature. She was married to August Strindberg. She was the daughter of the well-known Friedrich Uhl, editor of the Wiener Zeitung, and Maria Uhl, a devout Catholic...

, who was twenty-three years younger than he. They were married in 1893. Less than a year later, their daughter Kerstin was born and the couple separated, though their marriage was not officially dissolved until 1897. Frida's family, in particular her mother, who was a devout Catholic, had an important influence on Strindberg and in an 1894 letter he declared "I feel the hand of our Lord resting over me."

Some critics think that Strindberg suffered from severe paranoia in the mid 1890s, and perhaps that he experienced temporarily insanity. Others, including Evert Sprinchorn and Olof Lagercrantz
Olof Lagercrantz
Olof Gustaf Hugo Lagercrantz was a Swedish writer, critic, literary scholar and publicist . The son of bank director Carl Lagercrantz and Countess Agnes Hamilton, he married Martina Ruin , daughter of Professor Hans Ruin and Karin Sievers, in 1939...

 believed he intentionally turned himself into his own guinea pig by doing psychological and drug-induced self-experimentation. He wrote on subjects such as botany
Botany
Botany, plant science, or plant biology is a branch of biology that involves the scientific study of plant life. Traditionally, botany also included the study of fungi, algae and viruses...

, chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

, and optics
Optics
Optics is the branch of physics which involves the behavior and properties of light, including its interactions with matter and the construction of instruments that use or detect it. Optics usually describes the behavior of visible, ultraviolet, and infrared light...

 before returning to literature with the publication of his edited journals Legends and Jacob Wrestling (both 1898), where he noted the impact Emanuel Swedenborg
Emanuel Swedenborg
was a Swedish scientist, philosopher, and theologian. He has been termed a Christian mystic by some sources, including the Encyclopædia Britannica online version, and the Encyclopedia of Religion , which starts its article with the description that he was a "Swedish scientist and mystic." Others...

 had on his current work.

"The Powers" were central to Strindberg's later work. He said "the Powers" were an outside force that had caused him his physical and mental suffering because they were acting for retribution to humankind for their wrongdoings. As William Blake
William Blake
William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age...

, Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century...

, Honoré de Balzac
Honoré de Balzac
Honoré de Balzac was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of short stories and novels collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the 1815 fall of Napoleon....

, and William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and playwright, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms...

 had been, he was drawn to Swedenborg's mystical visions, with their depictions of spiritual landscape and Christian morality. Strindberg believed for the rest of his life that the relationship between the transcendental and the real world was described by a series of "correspondences" and that everyday events were really messages from above of which only the enlightened could make sense. He also felt he was chosen by Providence
Divine Providence
In Christian theology, divine providence, or simply providence, is God's activity in the world. " Providence" is also used as a title of God exercising His providence, and then the word are usually capitalized...

 to atone for the moral decay of others and felt his tribulations were payback for misdeeds earlier in his life.

In 1899, he returned to Sweden, following a successful production of Master Olaf in 1897 (which was re-staged in 1899 to mark Strindberg's fiftieth birthday). He had the desire to become the national poet and felt historical dramas were the way to attain that status. Though Strindberg claimed that he was writing "realistically," he freely altered past events and biographical information, and telescoped chronology. Works included the so called Vasa Trilogy: The Saga of the Folkungs (1899), Gustavus Vasa (1899), and Erik XIV (1899).

1900s

Strindberg was pivotal in the creation of chamber play
Chamber play
A chamber play is play of usually three acts which can be performed with a small cast and practically no sets or costumes in a small space. The form became popular in the early 20th century, with leading exponents being Max Reinhardt and August Strindberg., first it was adapted to cinema in 1920s,...

s. Max Reinhardt
Max Reinhardt
----Max Reinhardt was an Austrian theater and film director and actor.-Biography:...

 was a big supporter of his, staging some of his plays at the Kleines Theater in 1902 (including The Bond, The Stronger, and The Outlaw). Once Otto Brahm
Otto Brahm
Otto Brahm was a German drama and literary critic, theatre manager and director. His productions were noted for being accurate and realistic. He was involved in the foundation of the progressive Freie Bühne company, of which he became president and producer...

 relinquished his role as head as of the Deutsches Theater
Deutsches Theater
The Deutsches Theater in Berlin is a well-known German theatre. It was built in 1850 as Friedrich-Wilhelm-Städtisches Theater, after Frederick William IV of Prussia. Located on Schumann Street , the Deutsches Theater consists of two adjoining stages that share a common, classical facade...

, Reinhardt took over and produced Strindberg's plays.

In 1903, Strindberg planned to write a grand cycle of plays based on world history, but the idea soon faded. He had completed short plays about Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

, Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

, Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

, Jesus Christ, and Socrates
Socrates
Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

. He wrote another historical drama in 1908 after the Royal Theatre
Royal Dramatic Theatre
The Royal Dramatic Theatre is Sweden's national stage for "spoken drama", founded in 1788. Around one thousand shows are put on annually on the theatre's eight running stages....

 convinced him to put on a new play for its sixtieth birthday. He wrote The Last of the Knights (1908), Earl Birger of Bjalbo (1909), and The Regents (1909).

His other works, such as Days of Loneliness (1903), The Roofing Ceremony (1907), and The Scapegoat (1907), and the novels The Gothic Rooms (1904) and Black Banners, Genre Scenes from the Turn of the Century. Strindberg, August. Translated and with an Introduction by Donald K. Weaver. Series: Studies on Themes and Motifs in Literature - Volume 101. Peter Lang, New York, 2010. ISBN 978-1-4331-0783-2 (1907) have been viewed as precursors to Marcel Proust
Marcel Proust
Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for his monumental À la recherche du temps perdu...

 and Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka was a culturally influential German-language author of short stories and novels. Contemporary critics and academics, including Vladimir Nabokov, regard Kafka as one of the best writers of the 20th century...

.

August Falck, an actor, wanted to put on a production of Miss Julie and wrote to him for permission. In September 1906 he staged the first Swedish production of Miss Julie. August Palme, Strindberg's friend, played Jean and Manda Bjorling played Julie.

In 1909, Strindberg thought he might get the Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

, but instead lost to Selma Lagerlöf
Selma Lagerlöf
Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf was a Swedish author. She was the first female writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, and most widely known for her children's book Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige ....

, the first woman and first Swede to win the award. The leader of the Social Democrat Youth Alliance
Social Democratic Youth of Denmark
The Danmarks Socialdemokratiske Ungdom is the youth organisation of the Danish Social Democrats.- History :The Social Democratic Youth movement of Denmark was established in 1920 after a break-up of the former youth organisation, the Social Democratic Youth League...

 started a fund-raiser for a special award. Nathan Söderblom
Nathan Söderblom
Lars Olof Jonathan Söderblom was a Swedish clergyman, Archbishop of Uppsala in the Church of Sweden, and recipient of the 1930 Nobel Peace Prize...

 was noted as a donor, yet he was criticized by the conservative party. In total there was 45,000 Swedish crowns collected, by more than 20,000 donors, most of whom were workers. Bonnier Group paid him 200,000 Swedish crowns for his complete works. He invited his first three children to Stockholm and divided the money into five shares, one for each child, one for Siri, and the other for himself.

He founded The Intimate Theatre
Strindbergs Intima Teater
Strindbergs Intima Teater or Intima teatern, is a theatre stage in Stockholm, Sweden. It was founded and managed by the famous Swedish playwright August Strindberg between the years 1907-1910...

 in Stockholm in 1907. His theatre was modeled after Max Reinhart's Kammerspiel Haus. Strindberg had the intention of the theatre being used for his plays and his plays only, he also had the intention of the theatre being used mainly to perform chamber plays. For the theater's opening, Strindberg wrote four chamber plays: Thunder in the Air, The Burned Site, The Ghost Sonata, and The Pelican. Strindberg had very specific ideas about how the theatre would be opened and operated. He drafted a series of rules for his theatre in a letter to August Falck: 1. No liquor. 2. No Sunday performances. 3. Short performances without intermissions. 4. No calls. 5. Only 160 seats in the auditorium. 6. No prompter. No orchestra, only music on stage. 7. The text will be sold at the box office and in the lobby. 8. Summer performances. Falck helped to design the auditorium, which was decorated in a deep-green tone. The ceiling lighting was a yellow silk cover which created an effect of mild daylight. The floor was covered with a deep-green carpet, and the auditorium was decorated by six ultra modern columns with elaborate up-to-date capitals. Instead of the usual restaurant Strindberg offered a lounge for the ladies and a smoking-room for the gentlemen. The stage was unusually small, only 6 by 9 metres. The small stage and minimal amount of seats was meant to give the audience a greater feeling of involvement in the work. Unlike most theatres at this time, the Intima Teater was not a place in which people could come to socialize. By setting up his rules and creating an intimate atmosphere, Strindberg was able to demand the audiences focus. When the theatre opened in 1907 with a performance of The Pelican it was a rather large hit. Strindberg used a minimal technique, as was his way, by only having a back drop and some sea shells on the stage for scene design and props. Strindberg was much more concerned with the actors portraying the written word than the stage looking pretty. The theatre ran into a financial difficulty in February 1908 and Falck had to borrow money from Prince Eugén, Duke of Närke
Prince Eugén, Duke of Närke
Prince Eugen Napoleon Nicolaus of Sweden and Norway, Duke of Närke was the youngest son of King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway....

, who attended the première of The Pelican. The theatre eventually went bankrupt in 1910, but did not close until Strindberg's death in 1912. The newspapers wrote about the theatre until its death; however, Strindberg felt it was entirely unsuccessful. He felt that he never had the opportunity to successfully stage a play the way he wanted to— which was the purpose of the theatre in the first place.

Later life and death

Strindberg died shortly after the first of his plays was staged in the United States—The Father opened on 9 April 1912 at the Berkeley Theatre in New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, in a translation by Edith and Wärner Oland.

During Christmas 1911, Strindberg became sick with pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 and he never recovered completely. He also started to suffer from a stomach disease, presumably cancer. He died on 14 May 1912 at the age of 63. Strindberg was interred in the Norra begravningsplatsen
Norra begravningsplatsen
Norra begravningsplatsen, literally "The Northern Cemetery" in Swedish, is a major cemetery of Metropolitan Stockholm. The cemetery is located in the municipality of Solna.Inaugurated on June 9, 1827, it is the burial site for a number of Swedish notables....

 in Stockholm, and thousands of people followed his corpse during the funeral proceedings.

Legacy

Tennessee Williams
Tennessee Williams
Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams III was an American writer who worked principally as a playwright in the American theater. He also wrote short stories, novels, poetry, essays, screenplays and a volume of memoirs...

, Edward Albee
Edward Albee
Edward Franklin Albee III is an American playwright who is best known for The Zoo Story , The Sandbox , Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? , and a rewrite of the screenplay for the unsuccessful musical version of Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's . His works are considered well-crafted, often...

, Maxim Gorky
Maxim Gorky
Alexei Maximovich Peshkov , primarily known as Maxim Gorky , was a Russian and Soviet author, a founder of the Socialist Realism literary method and a political activist.-Early years:...

, John Osborne
John Osborne
John James Osborne was an English playwright, screenwriter, actor and critic of the Establishment. The success of his 1956 play Look Back in Anger transformed English theatre....

, and Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman
Ernst Ingmar Bergman was a Swedish director, writer and producer for film, stage and television. Described by Woody Allen as "probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera", he is recognized as one of the most accomplished and...

 are a few of the many people who have cited him as an influence. Eugene O'Neill
Eugene O'Neill
Eugene Gladstone O'Neill was an American playwright and Nobel laureate in Literature. His poetically titled plays were among the first to introduce into American drama techniques of realism earlier associated with Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, and Swedish...

, upon receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature, dedicated much of his acceptance speech to describing Strindberg's influence on his work, and referred to him as "that greatest genius of all modern dramatists."

A multi-faceted author, Strindberg was often extreme. His novel The Red Room
The Red Room (Strindberg)
The Red Room is a Swedish novel by August Strindberg that was first published in 1879. A satire of Stockholm society, it has frequently been described as the first modern Swedish novel. While receiving mixed reviews in Sweden, it was acclaimed in Denmark, where Strindberg was hailed as a genius. ...

(1879) made him famous. His early plays belong to the Naturalistic
Naturalism (theatre)
Naturalism is a movement in European drama and theatre that developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It refers to theatre that attempts to create a perfect illusion of reality through a range of dramatic and theatrical strategies: detailed, three-dimensional settings Naturalism is a...

 movement. His works from this time are often compared with the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of prose drama" and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre...

. Strindberg's best-known play from this period is Miss Julie
Miss Julie
Miss Julie is a naturalistic play written in 1888 by August Strindberg dealing with class, love, lust, the battle of the sexes, and the interaction among them...

. Among his most widely read works is the novel The People of Hemsö.

Strindberg wanted to attain what he called "greater Naturalism." He disliked the expository character backgrounds that characterise the work of Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of prose drama" and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre...

 and rejected the convention of a dramatic "slice of life
Slice of life
Slice of life is a phrase describing the use of mundane realism depicting everyday experiences in art and entertainment.-Theater:The theatrical term refers to a naturalistic representation of real life, sometimes used as an adjective, as in "a play with 'slice of life' dialogue." The term...

" because he felt that the resulting plays were mundane and uninteresting. Strindberg felt that true naturalism was a psychological "battle of brains": two people who hate each other in the immediate moment and strive to drive the other to doom is the type of mental hostility that Strindberg strove to describe. He intended his plays to be impartial and objective, citing a desire to make literature akin to a science.

Following the inner turmoil that he experienced during the "Inferno crisis," he wrote an important book in French, Inferno
Inferno (Strindberg)
Inferno is an autobiographical novel by August Strindberg. Written in French in 1896-97 at the height of Strindberg's troubles with both censors and women, the book is concerned with Strindberg's life both in and after he lived in Paris, and explores his various obsessions, including alchemy,...

(1896–7) in which he dramatised his experiences. He also exchanged a few cryptic letters with Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

.

Strindberg subsequently ended his association with Naturalism and began to produce works informed by Symbolism
Symbolism (arts)
Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century art movement of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts. In literature, the style had its beginnings with the publication Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire...

. He is considered one of the pioneers of the modern European stage and Expressionism. The Dance of Death
The Dance of Death (play)
The Dance of Death is a play in two parts written by August Strindberg in 1900.-Plot:In Part I, Edgar and his wife Alice live in a granite fortress on a desolate island. Bored and embittered, they torment each other with petty intrigues and well-worn accusations...

, A Dream Play
A Dream Play
A Dream Play was written in 1901 by the Swedish playwright August Strindberg. It was first performed in Stockholm on 17 April 1907. It remains one of Strindberg's most admired and influential dramas, seen as an important precursor to both dramatic Expressionism and Surrealism.-Plot:The primary...

, and The Ghost Sonata
The Ghost Sonata
The Ghost Sonata is a play in three acts by Swedish playwright August Strindberg. Written in 1907, it was first produced at Strindberg's Intimate Theatre in Stockholm on January 21, 1908. Since then, it has been staged by such notable directors as Max Reinhardt, Olof Molander, Roger Blin, and...

are well-known plays from this period.

His most famous and produced plays are Master Olof
Master Olof
Master Olof is a historical drama in five acts by the Swedish playwright August Strindberg. The story is about the reformer Olaus Petri's struggle against the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century...

, Miss Julie
Miss Julie
Miss Julie is a naturalistic play written in 1888 by August Strindberg dealing with class, love, lust, the battle of the sexes, and the interaction among them...

, and The Father.

Politics

The history of the Paris Commune
Paris Commune
The Paris Commune was a government that briefly ruled Paris from March 18 to May 28, 1871. It existed before the split between anarchists and Marxists had taken place, and it is hailed by both groups as the first assumption of power by the working class during the Industrial Revolution...

, during 1871, caused young Strindberg to develop the opinion that politics is a conflict between the upper and lower classes. He was admired by many as a far left
Far left
Far left, also known as the revolutionary left, radical left and extreme left are terms which refer to the highest degree of leftist positions among left-wing politics...

 writer. He was a socialist (or perhaps more of an anarchist, which he himself claimed on at least one occasion). Strindberg's political opinions nevertheless changed considerably within this category over the years, and he was never primarily a political writer. Nor did he often campaign for any one issue, preferring instead to scorn his enemies manifesto-style — the military, the church, the monarchy, the politicians, the stingy publishers, the incompetent reviewers, the narrow-minded, the idiots — and he was not loyal to any party or ideology. Many of his works, however, had at least some politics and sometimes an abundance of it. They often displayed the conviction that life and the prevailing system was profoundly unjust and injurious to ordinary citizens.

The changing nature of his political positions shows in his changing stance on the women's rights issue. Early on, Strindberg was sympathetic to women of 19th-century Sweden, calling for women's suffrage as early as 1884. However, during other periods he had wildly misogynistic opinions, calling for lawmakers to reconsider the emancipation of these "half-apes... mad... criminal, instinctively evil animals." This is controversial in contemporary assessments of Strindberg, as have his antisemitic descriptions of Jews (and, in particular, Jewish enemies of his in Swedish cultural life) in some works (e.g., Det nya riket), particularly during the early 1880s. Strindberg's antisemitic pronouncements, just like his opinions of women, have been debated, and also seem to have varied considerably. Many of these attitudes, passions and behaviours may have been developed for literary reasons and ended as soon as he had exploited them in books.

In satirizing Swedish society — in particular the upper classes, the cultural and political establishment, and his many personal and professional foes — he could be very confrontational, with scarcely-concealed caricatures of political opponents. This could take the form of brutal character disparagement or mockery, and while the presentation was generally skilful, it was not necessarily subtle.

His daughter Karin Strindberg married a Russian Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 of partially Swedish ancestry, Vladimir Martynovich Smirnov ("Paulsson"). Because of his political views, Strindberg was promoted strongly in socialist countries in Central
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 and Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

, as well as in the Soviet Union and Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

.

Other interests

Strindberg, something of a polymath
Polymath
A polymath is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. In less formal terms, a polymath may simply be someone who is very knowledgeable...

, was also a telegrapher
Telegraphy
Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of messages via some form of signalling technology. Telegraphy requires messages to be converted to a code which is known to both sender and receiver...

, theosophist
Theosophy
Theosophy, in its modern presentation, is a spiritual philosophy developed since the late 19th century. Its major themes were originally described mainly by Helena Blavatsky , co-founder of the Theosophical Society...

, painter
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

, photographer and alchemist
Alchemy
Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early practitioners’ claims to profound powers were known from antiquity. The defining objectives of alchemy are varied; these include the creation of the fabled philosopher's stone possessing powers including the capability of turning base...

.

Painting and photography offered vehicles for his belief that chance played a crucial part in the creative process. Strindberg's paintings were unique for their time, and went beyond those of his contemporaries for their radical lack of adherence to visual reality. The 117 paintings that are acknowledged as his were mostly painted within the span of a few years, and are now seen by some as among the most original works of 19th century art. Today, his best-known pieces are stormy, expressionist seascapes, selling at high prices in auction houses. Though Strindberg was friends with Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch was a Norwegian Symbolist painter, printmaker and an important forerunner of expressionist art. His best-known composition, The Scream, is part of a series The Frieze of Life, in which Munch explored the themes of love, fear, death, melancholia, and anxiety.- Childhood :Edvard Munch...

 and Paul Gauguin
Paul Gauguin
Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin was a leading French Post-Impressionist artist. He was an important figure in the Symbolist movement as a painter, sculptor, print-maker, ceramist, and writer...

, and was thus familiar with modern trends, the spontaneous and subjective expressiveness of his landscapes and seascapes can be ascribed also to the fact that he painted only in periods of personal crisis. Anders Zorn
Anders Zorn
Anders Leonard Zorn was one of Sweden’s foremost artists who obtained international success as a painter, sculptor and printmaker in etching.-Biography:...

 also did a self-portrait.

His interest in photography resulted, among other things, in a large number of arranged self-portraits in various environments, which now number among the best-known pictures of Strindberg.

Alchemy
Alchemy
Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early practitioners’ claims to profound powers were known from antiquity. The defining objectives of alchemy are varied; these include the creation of the fabled philosopher's stone possessing powers including the capability of turning base...

, occultism, Swedenborgianism, and various other eccentric interests were pursued by Strindberg with some intensity for periods of his life. In the curious autobiographical work Inferno
Inferno (Strindberg)
Inferno is an autobiographical novel by August Strindberg. Written in French in 1896-97 at the height of Strindberg's troubles with both censors and women, the book is concerned with Strindberg's life both in and after he lived in Paris, and explores his various obsessions, including alchemy,...

—a paranoid and confusing tale of his years in Paris, written in French—he claims to have successfully performed alchemical experiments and cast black magic spells on his daughter.

Personal life

Strindberg was married three times, as follows:
  • Siri von Essen
    Siri von Essen
    Siri von Essen was a Swedish-speaking Finnish noblewoman and actress. She was married to Baron Carl Gustaf Wrangel between 1872–76, with whom she had a daughter, Sigrid. After their divorce, she married the Swedish dramatist and writer August Strindberg; they were married between 1877–91...

    : married 1877–91 (14 years), 2 daughters (Karin Smirnov
    Karin Smirnov
    Karin Smirnov or Smirnoff, née Strindberg was a Finland-Swedish writer. She was the daughter of August Strindberg and Siri von Essen....

    , Greta), 1 son (Hans); and a daughter who died in infancy
  • Frida Uhl
    Frida Uhl
    Frida Uhl was an Austrian writer and translator, who was closely associated to many important figures in 20th-century literature. She was married to August Strindberg. She was the daughter of the well-known Friedrich Uhl, editor of the Wiener Zeitung, and Maria Uhl, a devout Catholic...

    : married 1893–95, (2 years) 1 daughter, Kerstin, and
  • Harriet Bosse
    Harriet Bosse
    Harriet Sofie Bosse was a Swedish–Norwegian actress. A celebrity in her own day, Bosse is today most commonly remembered as the third wife of August Strindberg, an influential playwright. Bosse began her career in a minor company run by her forceful older sister Alma Fahlstrøm in Kristiania...

    : married 1901–02(?) (2 years), 1 daughter, Anne-Marie.


Strindberg was age 28 and Siri was 27 at the time of their marriage. He was 44 and Frida was 21 when they married and he was 52 and Harriet was 23 when they married. Late during his life he met the young actress and painter Fanny Falkner (1890–1963) who was 41 years younger than Strindberg. She wrote a book which illuminates his last years, but the exact nature of their relationship is debated. He had a brief affair in Berlin with Dagny Juel
Dagny Juel
Dagny Juel-Przybyszewska was a Norwegian writer, famous for her liaisons with various prominent artists, and for the dramatic circumstances of her death. She was the model for some of Edvard Munch's paintings. She had relationships with Munch and briefly with August Strindberg. In 1893, she...

 before his marriage to Frida; it has been suggested that the news of her murder in 1901 was the reason he cancelled his honeymoon with his third wife, Harriet. He was also related to Nils Strindberg
Nils Strindberg
Nils Strindberg was a Swedish photographer who was one of the three members of S. A. Andrée's ill-fated Arctic balloon expedition of 1897. Before perishing on Kvitøya with Andrée and Knut Frænkel, Strindberg recorded on film their long doomed struggle on foot to reach populated areas...

 (a son of one of August's cousins).

Strindberg's relationships with women were troubled and have often been interpreted as misogynistic
Misogyny
Misogyny is the hatred or dislike of women or girls. Philogyny, meaning fondness, love or admiration towards women, is the antonym of misogyny. The term misandry is the term for men that is parallel to misogyny...

 by contemporaries and modern readers. Most acknowledge, however, that he had uncommon insight into the hypocrisy
Hypocrisy
Hypocrisy is the state of pretending to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that one does not actually have. Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie....

 of his society's gender roles and sexual morality
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

. Marriage and families were being stressed in Strindberg's lifetime as Sweden industrialized
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 and urbanized
Urbanization
Urbanization, urbanisation or urban drift is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of global change. The United Nations projected that half of the world's population would live in urban areas at the end of 2008....

 at a rapid pace. Problems of prostitution
Prostitution
Prostitution is the act or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment. The person who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute and the person who receives such services is known by a multitude of terms, including a "john". Prostitution is one of...

 and poverty were debated among writers, critics and politicians. His early writing often dealt with the traditional roles of the sexes imposed by society, which he criticized as unjust.

Strindberg's last home was Blå tornet
Blå tornet
Blå tornet is a house in Stockholm, built in 1907 that was the last residence of August Strindberg, . Located at Drottninggatan 85, it is today the Strindberg Museum. At the ground floor is a Strindberg themed bar called "Inferno".-External links:* official website*...

 in central Stockholm, where he lived from 1908 until 1912. It is now a museum.

Several statues and busts of him have been erected in Stockholm, the most prominent of which is Carl Eldh
Carl Eldh
Carl Eldh was a Swedish artist and sculptor. Full name: Carl Johan Eldh . Older brother to Albert Eldh.Eldh was born in Östhammar Municipality, Uppland, the son of a blacksmith...

's, erected in 1942 in Tegnérlunden
Tegnérlunden
Tegnérlunden is a park at the border of city districts Norrmalm and Vasastaden in Stockholm. It was originally erected 1890, but was re-constructed in 1940. It is home to statues of two Swedish authors. On a hill in the parks's eastern part stands Carl Eldh's massive statue of August Strindberg,...

, a park next to the house where Strindberg lived the last years of his life.

See also


Sources

  • Adams, Ann-Charlotte Gavel, ed. 2002. Dictionary of Literary Biography. Vol. 259 Twentieth-Century Swedish Writers Before World War II. Detroit, MI: Gale. ISBN 078765261X.
  • Carlson, Marvin. 1993. Theories of the Theatre: A Historical and Critical Survey from the Greeks to the Present. Expanded ed. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0801481543.
  • Ekman, Hans-Göran. 2000. Strindberg and the Five Senses: Studies in Strindberg's Chamber Plays. London and New Brunswick, New Jersey: Athlone. ISBN 0485115522..
  • Gunnarsson, Torsten. 1998. Nordic Landscape Painting in the Nineteenth Century. New Haven: Yale UP. ISBN 0300070411.
  • Innes, Christopher, ed. 2000. A Sourcebook on Naturalist Theatre. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0415152291.
  • Lagercrantz, Olof. 1984. August Strindberg. Trans. Anselm Hollo. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux. ISBN 0374106851.
  • Lane, Harry. 1998. "Strindberg, August." In The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Ed. Martin Banham. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 1040–41. ISBN 0521434378.............
  • Ward, John. 1980. The Social and Religious Plays of Strindberg. London: Athlone. ISBN 0485111837....


public domain translations of Strindberg's drama


public domain translations of Strindberg's novels


other

...........
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