August Strindberg

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August Strindberg (1849 - 1912) was a Swedish writer and playwright.

Strindberg was a popular writer of romantic plays, but was prolific in all subjects. His collection of short stories, Married, caused controversy amongst the conservative elite and he was charged with indency. He voluntarily brought the publisher to court and won the case, which served to further increase his popularity.

August Strindberg was born in Stockholm on 22 January 1849. His father, Carl Oscar Strindberg, was a modestly successful shipping agent, his mother, Ulrika Eleanora Norling, was a tailor's daughter, who had been a domestic servant[1] . August was their third son; the couple had nine more children. Ulrika died when Strindberg was 13 years old, and after his father remarried, Strindberg came to hate his stepmother.

In 1867 Strindberg enrolled in the University of Uppsala, but failed the preliminary examination in chemistry. He worked for a while at the Royal Dramatic Theatre, wroting three plays that were rejected. Strindberg returned to his studies in Uppsala and in 1872 completed a senior candidacy. Back in Stockholm, Strindberg worked as a journalist and wrote the historical drama Master Olof about the Swedish Protestant reformer Olaus Petri. Between 1874 and 1882 he was an assistant librarian at the Royal Library.

Strindberg married three times. His third wife was Harriet Bosse, an actress whom he wrote Swanwhite for as a gift. Throughout their tumultuous relationship she performed in his plays and his obsession for her lasted beyond their divorce. They had a child, Anne-Marie. Late in his life he met the young actress Fanny Faulkner, whom he cast in Swanwhite after a falling-out with Bosse, though the nature of their relationship is unclear.

Strindberg died of stomach cancer in 1912. In his journals published posthumously by Bosse, his entries indicate an awareness of his condition in 1908.[2]

"My souls (characters) are conglomerations of past and present stages of civilization, bits from books and newspapers, scraps of humanity, rags and tatters of fine clothing, patched together as is the human soul. And I have added a little evolutionary history by making the weaker steal and repeat the words of the stronger, and by making the characters borrow ideas or "suggestions" from one another." (from the foreword to 'Miss Julie' in Six Plays of Strindberg, 1955)

References

  1. Strindberg used this for the title of his autobiographical novel, Tjänstekvinnans son (The Son of a Servant)
  2. Inferno / From an Occult Diary