Insulanoj De Hemsoe (Mondliteraturo en Esperanto)

Mondial
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About the author

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, into a poor family, August Strindberg suffered a hard and unhappy childhood. He studied for a while at the University of Uppsala in Sweden, but left without a degree. Strindberg began to write while supporting himself at a variety of jobs, including journalist and librarian. The work that first brought him to public attention was the novel The Red Room (1879), a biting satire on Stockholm society that displayed his skill as both a literary stylist and a social commentator. Strindberg went on to write other novels, as well as stories and poems, but it is as a playwright that he is remembered. Sweden's greatest playwright, he ranks just behind Norway's playwright Henrik Ibsen as the leading Scandinavian dramatist. It is not easy to categorize Strindberg's plays. Many deal with social issues, but his own beliefs varied so often and so strongly that his works often contradict each other. Perhaps the only consistent theme in his plays is an abiding hatred of women, or more specifically, of women of strong will and character. The Father (1887), Miss Julie, (1888), and Creditors (1888) contain his severest attacks on women. Strindberg himself was married and divorced three times, and his women-hating plays may well reflect his own marital problems. Fascination with Strindberg has not decreased since his death. His enormous influence on European and world literature can hardly be exaggerated. In general, however, his novels and biographical writings have not been popular with English-speaking readers. His plays, on the other hand, continue to be widely read and produced throughout Europe and the United States. They helped introduce greater attention to individual psychological disturbances as a subject for theater, as well as a poetic and surreal approach to violence, pain, and suffering.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Mondial
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Published on
Dec 31, 2005
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Pages
180
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ISBN
9781595690159
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Best For
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Language
Esperanto
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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An American critic says "Strindberg is the greatest subjectivist of all time." Certainly neither Augustine, Rousseau, nor Tolstoy have laid bare their souls to the finest fibre with more ruthless sincerity than the great Swedish realist. He fulfilled to the letter the saying of Robertson of Brighton, "Woman and God are two rocks on which a man must either anchor or be wrecked." His four autobiographical works, The Son of a Servant, The Confessions of a Fool, Inferno, and Legends, are four segments of an immense curve tracing his progress from the childish pietism of his early years, through a period of atheism and rebellion, to the sombre faith in a "God that punishes" of the sexagenarian. In his spiritual wanderings he grazed the edge of madness, and madmen often see deeper into things than ordinary folk. At the close of the Inferno he thus sums up the lesson of his life's pilgrimage: "Such then is my life: a sign, an example to serve for the improvement of others; a proverb, to show the nothingness of fame and popularity; a proverb, to show young men how they ought not to live; a proverbÑbecause I who thought myself a prophet am now revealed as a braggart."
It is strange that though the names of Ibsen and Nietzsche have long been familiar in England, Strindberg, whom Ibsen is reported to have called "One greater than I," as he pointed to his portrait, and with whom Nietzsche corresponded, is only just beginning to attract attention, though for a long time past most of his works have been accessible in German. Even now not much more is known about him than that he was a pessimist, a misogynist, and writer of Zolaesque novels. To quote a Persian proverb, "They see the mountain, but not the mine within it." No man admired a good wife and mother more than he did, but he certainly hated the Corybantic, "emancipated" women of the present time. No man had a keener appreciation of the gentle joys of domesticity, and the intensity of his misogyny was in strict proportion to the keenness of his disappointment. The Inferno relates how grateful and even reverential he was to the nurse who tended him in hospital, and to his mother-in-law. He felt profoundly the charm of innocent childhood, and paternal instincts were strong in him. All his life long he had to struggle with four terrible inner foesÑdoubt, suspicion, fear, sensuality. His doubts destroyed his early faith, his ceaseless suspicions made it impossible for him to be happy in friendship or love, his fear of the "invisible powers," as he calls them, robbed him of all peace of mind, and his sensuality dragged him repeatedly into the mire.
August Strindberg is one of the founders of the modern theater. George Bernard Shaw considered him "the only genuinely Shakespearian modern dramatist," Sean O'Casey called him "the greatest of them all." And to Eugene O'Neill he was "the greatest interpreter in the theater of the characteristic spiritual conflicts of our lives today." Twelve Major Plays includes the most famous and most characteristic Strindberg plays.

This selection is particularly interesting in its depiction of the great range of Strindberg's moods and styles, from naturalism to expressionism, from ironic comedy to bitter tragedy. It displays his great gift for symbolic, mystical verse as well as his command of dramatic prose. In issues of sex and gender, Strindberg anticipated the modern temperament in society and drama alike.

These translations gave American readers their first opportunity to know the true genius of Strindberg. Most previous versions in English had been based on existing German translations. Elizabeth Sprigge's unique achievement was to render the original Swedish texts into English that is at once fluent and accurate and that captures the full vigor and impact of the original plays.

August Strindberg (1849-1912) was a Swedish writer and playwright and is credited and being one of the founders of modern theatre. His writings combined elements of psychology and naturalism. Some of his minor writings, not included in this book, include The Outlaw, Master Olaf, Pariah, The Comrades, and Among French Peasants.

Elizabeth Sprigge was educated in London and Ontario and was the author of a number of novels, biographies and children's books. She was co-founder of the famous avant-garde Watergate Theatre in London and lectured on literature and theatre in many parts of the world.

The republication of The Confession of a Fool represents the last link in the chain of Strindberg's autobiographical novels. A German version of the book was published as far back as 1893, but it was mutilated, abbreviated, corrupted, and falsified to such an extent that the attorney-general, misled by the revolting language, blamed the author for the misdeeds of the translator and prohibited the sale of the book. This was a splendid advertisement for this profound work, but there were many who would have rejoiced if the translation had been completely ignored. It distorted Strindberg's character and was the cause of many prejudices which exist to this day.
Schering's new translation is an attempt to make reparation for this crime. "It is impossible," he says, "that any attorney-general can now doubt the high morality of this book." Strindberg himself has called it a terrible book, and has regretted that he ever wrote it. He has never published it in Swedish, his own language, because not only is it too personal in character, but it also revealed a still bleeding wound. It contains the relentless description of his first marriage, so superbly candid an account, that one is reminded of the last testament of a man for whom death has no longer any terror. We know from his fascinating novel Separated, how painful the burden was which he had to bear, and how terribly he suffered during the period of his first marriage. So much so, indeed, that he had to write this book before he could face the thought of death with composure. Doubtless, a man for whom life holds no longer any charm would give us a genuinely truthful account of his inner life, and there is no denying that a book which takes its entire matter from the inner life is of vastly greater importance and on an immeasurably higher level than a million novels, be they written ever so well. The great importance of The Confession of a Fool lies in the fact that it depicts the struggle of a highly intellectual man to free himself from the slavery of sexuality, and from a woman who is a typical representative of her sex.
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