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In , he returned permanently to Stockholm, following a successful production there of Master Olof in which was re-staged in to mark Strindberg's fiftieth birthday. Though Strindberg claimed that he was writing "realistically," he freely altered past events and biographical information, and telescoped chronology as often done in most historical fiction : more importantly, he felt a flow of resurgent inspiration, writing almost twenty new plays many in a historical setting between and Strindberg was pivotal in the creation of chamber plays.

Once Otto Brahm relinquished his role as head as of the Deutsches Theatre , Reinhardt took over and produced Strindberg's plays. In , Strindberg planned to write a grand cycle of plays based on world history, but the idea soon faded. He wrote another historical drama in after the Royal Theatre convinced him to put on a new play for its sixtieth birthday.

Ett drömspel / A Dream Play

August Falck, an actor, wanted to put on a production of Miss Julie and wrote to Strindberg for permission. In September he staged the first Swedish production of Miss Julie. The leader of the Social Democrat Youth Alliance started a fund-raiser for a special "people's award". In total 45, Swedish crowns were collected, by more than 20, donors, most of whom were workers. He invited his first three children now, like their mother, living in Finland to Stockholm and divided the money into five shares, one for each child, one for Siri absent , and the last one for himself.

In setting apart one share for Siri, Strindberg noted, in a shy voice, "This is for your mother - it's to settle an old debt". When the children returned to Helsinki, Siri was surprised to hear that she had been included, but accepted the money and told them in a voice that was, according to her daughter Karin, both proud and moved, "I shall accept it, receiving it as an old debt".

The debt was less financial than mental and emotional; Strindberg knew he had sometimes treated her unfairly during the later years of their marriage and at their divorce trial. His theatre was modeled after Max Reinhardt 's Kammerspiel Haus. Strindberg and Falck had the intention of the theatre being used for his plays and his plays only, Strindberg also wanted to try out a more chamber-oriented and sparse style of dramatic writing and production. In time for the theatre's opening, Strindberg wrote four chamber plays: Thunder in the Air, The Burned Site, The Ghost Sonata , and The Pelican ; these were generally not a success with audiences or newspaper critics at the time but have been highly influential on modern drama and soon would reach wider audiences at Reinhardt's theatre in Berlin and other German stages.

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. No Sunday performances. Short performances without intermissions. No calls. Only seats in the auditorium. No prompter. No orchestra, only music on stage. The text will be sold at the box office and in the lobby. 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.


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The small stage and minimal number 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 audience's focus. When the theatre opened in 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.

August Strindberg Facts

Strindberg was much more concerned with the actors portraying the written word than the stage looking pretty. The theatre eventually went bankrupt in , but did not close until Strindberg's death in The newspapers wrote about the theatre until its death;.

During Christmas , Strindberg became sick with pneumonia and he never recovered completely. He also began to suffer more clearly from a stomach cancer early signs of which had been felt in The final weeks of his life were painful. He had long since become a national celebrity, even if highly controversial, and when it became clear that he was seriously ill the daily papers in Stockholm began reporting on his health in every edition.

He received many letters and telegrams from admirers across the country. Strindberg was interred at Norra begravningsplatsen in Stockholm.

Early years

He had given strict instructions concerning his funeral and how his body should be treated after death: only members of his immediate family were allowed to view his body, there would be no obduction, no photographs were taken, and no death mask was made. Strindberg had also requested that his funeral should take place as soon as possible after his death to avoid crowds of onlookers. However, the workers' organisations requested that the funeral should take place on a Sunday to make it possible for working men to pay their respects, and the funeral was postponed for five days, until Sunday, 19 May.

According to Strindberg's last wish, the funeral procession was to start at 8am, again to avoid crowds, but large groups of people were nevertheless waiting outside his home as well as at the cemetery, as early as 7am. The procession was followed by groups of students, workers, members of Parliament and a couple of cabinet ministers, and it was estimated that up to 60, people lined the streets.

King Gustaf V sent a wreath for the bier. A multi-faceted author, Strindberg was often extreme. His novel The Red Room made him famous. His early plays belong to the Naturalistic movement. His works from this time are often compared with the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. Strindberg's best-known play from this period is Miss Julie. Strindberg wanted to attain what he called "greater Naturalism.

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 —7 in which he dramatised his experiences. He also exchanged a few cryptic letters with Friedrich Nietzsche. Strindberg subsequently ended his association with Naturalism and began to produce works informed by Symbolism.

He is considered one of the pioneers of the modern European stage and Expressionism. Influenced by the history of the Paris Commune , during , young Strindberg embraced the view, that politics is a conflict between the upper and lower classes. He was admired by many as a far-left writer. He was a socialist or perhaps more of an anarchist, meaning a libertarian socialist, 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.

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Catalog Record: Plays by August Strindberg. Fourth series | HathiTrust Digital Library

Many of his works, however, had at least some politics and sometimes an abundance of it. They often displayed that life and the prevailing system were 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 However, during other periods he had strongly misogynistic opinions, calling for lawmakers to reconsider the emancipation of these "half-apes 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. Strindberg, something of a polymath , was also a telegrapher , theosophist , painter, photographer and alchemist. 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.

August Strindberg

The 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 and Paul Gauguin , 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 also did a 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. Strindberg also embarked on a series of camera-less images, using an experimental quasi-scientific approach. He produced a type of photogram that encouraged the development and growth of crystals on the photographic emulsion, sometimes exposed for lengthy periods to heat or cold in the open air or at night facing the stars. The suggestiveness of these, which he called Celestographs, provided an object for contemplation, and he noted;.