Strindberg 1849 - 1912 (63)

I dream, therefore I exist.


Miss Julie

August Strindberg (1849- 1912 ) was a Swedish playwright, novelist and painter. He was born on January 22, 1849 in Stockholm, the fourth child out of eleven in the family. His father was a merchant of colonial goods and later, after his bankruptcy, an employee of a shipping company. His mother worked for his father's family as a servant, he married her when she was 7 months pregnant with their first child. His mother died when August was 13, his father soon remarried; August had a bad childhood because of his stepmother whom he hated.

In 1867 he began studies at the University of Uppsala, in 1868 he interrupted and worked as a tutor, then he enrolled at the University of Stockholm and prepared for medical studies which he ultimately never started. In 1869 he wrote three plays which were rejected and in the following year he returned to Uppsala and wrote a play which was performed in the royal theater. In 1872 he returned to Stockholm and worked as a journalist and newspaper critic while also wrote his first important work, the historical drama "Mr. Olaf" in which he decries the hypocrisy of society and the church. In 1877 he experienced his first big success with the play "The Red Chamber" and wrote some of his short stories. Theatrical recognition came with the play "The Journey of Lucky Peter", at the same time that he had major problems in his marriage, as he began to be pathologically jealous of his wife.

In the years 1884-1886, he wrote two autobiographical works, "Married" and "The Son of the Handmaid" in which he opposes marriage, to the point of being prosecuted for blasphemy. From this time on, his works are about the battle of the two sexes, while he himself declares himself an anti-feminist. In his masterpiece "Father" the battle culminates and the women of the house devour the man. In his other great work, "Miss Julia", the battle of the sexes is added to the battle of the classes, causing such a shock to society that it was not performed until many years later. In 1892, his wife divorced him, taking custody of their 3 children. Strinberg suffered a nervous breakdown and resorts to painting, the following year he marries an Austrian journalist. They divorced few months later, after having a child; he goes to Paris, where he had difficult time during which he had psychotic episodes. He returned to Stockholm where he falls headlong into writing. In ten years he wrote 35 plays.

He also periodically paints, often seascapes which present a radical departure from visible reality. Later he will discover and tackle photography as well. In 1901 he married for the third time, the actress who was 29 years his junior, a year later she left him, taking their child with her. Among other things, he wrote "the storm" about the coming of old age, while in his last years he stopped writing about the theater and devoted himself to political and religious studies. In 1908 he settled in a house he called 'The Blue Tower' in central Stockholm and has now become a museum. At Christmas 1911 he became seriously ill with pneumonia and never fully recovered. He died of stomach cancer on May 14, 1912.