Efter den självbiografiska romanen Inferno 1897 författade Strindberg på hösten samma år fortsättningen Legender. Den tillkom i Paris och skrevs till största delen på franska. Vid författandet byggde Strindberg på sina anteckningar i Ockulta Dagboken.
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.
In Miss Julie, a willful young aristocrat, whose perverse nature has already driven her fiancé to break off their engagement, pursues and effectively seduces her father's valet during the course of a Midsummer's Eve celebration. The progress of that seduction and the play's stunning denouement shocked Swedish audiences who first attended the play in 1889. Despite its controversial debut, this now-classic drama, inspired by the new ideas of naturalism and psychology that swept Europe in the late 19th century, helped to shape modern theater, and remains one of the most potent-and most frequently performed-of modern plays. The full text of Miss Julie is reprinted here as translated by Edwin Björkman, complete with Strindberg's critical preface to the play, considered by many to be one of the most important manifestos in theater history.
The Red Room (Swedish: Röda rummet) is 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, Strindberg became famous throughout Scandinavia. Edvard Brandes wrote that it 'makes the reader want to join the fight against hypocrisy and reaction'. A young idealistic civil servant, Arvid Falk, leaves the drudgery of bureaucracy to become a journalist and author. As he explores various social activities - politics, publishing, theatre, philanthropy, and business - he finds more hypocrisy and political corruption than he thought possible. He takes refuge with a group of 'bohemians', who meet in a red dining room in Berns Salonger to discuss these matters.
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.
Swedish writer August Strinberg played a major role in introducing a more modernist sensibility into his native country's literature, producing several major novels and plays that are still regarded as some of the most significant works of twentieth-century Swedish literature. The Road to Damascus is a dramatic trilogy that broke new ground in stagecraft and characterization, touching on complex themes of spirituality and selfhood in the process.
This vintage book contains five plays by Johan Strindberg, including ‘There Are Crimes and Crimes’, ‘Miss Julie’, ‘The Stronger’, ‘Creditors’, and ‘Pariah’. Johan August Strindberg (1849 – 1912) was a Swedish novelist, playwright, poet, and essayist. Contents include: ‘Introduction To “There Are Crimes And Crimes’, ‘There Are Crimes And Crimes’, ‘Introduction To "Miss Julia"’, ‘Author's Preface’, ‘Miss Julia’, ‘Introduction To "The Stronger"’, ‘The Stronger’, ‘Introduction To "Creditors"’, ‘Creditors’, ‘Introduction To "Pariah"’, and ‘Pariah’. Many vintage books such as this are becoming increasingly rare and expensive. We are republishing this volume now in an affordable, modern, high-quality edition complete with a specially commissioned new introduction.
Inferno är en självbiografisk bok av August Strindberg, skriven 1897. Strindberg skildrar i Inferno sin psykiska kris under åren 1894–96, då han vistades i Paris och Österrike. Stilen är i hög grad experimentell och på många sätt banbrytande för den moderna prosan. Texten är skriven helt på franska, även om den – i översättning av Eugène Fahlstedt – kom att först publiceras på svenska, år 1897. Året därpå, 1898, gavs även Strindbergs franska originaltext ut i bokform. Boken är baserad på Strindbergs dagbok Ockulta dagboken.
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