Swedish Language Blog

August Strindberg Posted by on May 18, 2013 in Culture

Who was this Swede? You probably feel like you have heard his name before, was he an author or perhaps a director? Well, depending on whom you ask in Sweden the reactions you will get will be quite different. Ask a young person and they will most likely know as much as you, but ask somebody a little older and everybody will know the name of this famous author, and for various reasons.


Strindberg was in fact an author, photographer, amateur scientist, journalist, director and even a librarian at the royal library at one point. Many others know him because of how he has expressed his hate for women in his plays.

Simple facts about the guy:

This man was born in Stockholm 1849 and was one of eight children.

Both his parents worked and didn’t have much time for him.

Strindberg was also very known for voicing his thoughts on all matters. This made things difficult for him when he decided to study medicine at Uppsala University. After many differences of opinion with his teachers he finally left the university and became a journalist for a newspaper called Dagens Nyheter. While he was writing for them he was also working as a librarian. His father did not approve of these career choices leading to a never resolved conflict between them. Strindberg died from stomach cancer in 1910. It is also to be mentioned that that was after arousing a huge debate between Swedish authors all around the country. He started this by yet again sharply criticizing a man called Heidenstam.

What Strindberg is most famous for are his plays and books, amongst others the famous Miss Julie, Röda rummet and Hemsöborna. He was born and grew up during the naturalistic period, together with many other famous authors and directors such as Zola, Guy de Maupassant and Ibsen, though it doesn’t seem like he was on such good terms with them either.

Strindberg’s plays were very liberal in the sense that he introduced never before preformed topics. Ones of the lives of the poor, giving one of two leading roles to a servant. He also let many of his plays be performed on a stage missing the fouth wall. For example a kitchen, with the audience looking onto the happenings, which had been private until then.

As for the rest of society, apart from the methods used on stage, well Strindberg had a lot to say about them too. He criticized the army, the royal family as well as Swedish academy and made many enemies as a result.

Nevertheless, many of his plays have been done over and over again, and are still appreciated today. He is a known face out into the international world of literature and drama, a person Sweden is proud to export.

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