Renowned Swedish writer, playwright and painter August Strindberg is known as one of the fathers of modern theatre.
Born in Sweden in 1849, August Strindberg was raised in poverty. A multi-faceted artist given to extremes, he battled depression and emotional turmoils throughout his life. Strindberg was actively involved in the trade union movement and was especially admired by the working class of his time as a radical writer who zealously attacked social ills and hypocrisies in his work. After Strindberg was overlooked by the Swedish Academy for the Nobel Prize for literature in 1909, a grass-roots petition campaign was launched in protest, which resulted in a large sum of money raised to compensate the cherished writer.
Strindberg’s early plays were written in the Naturalistic style, the best known of which is Miss Julie, one of the most studied and performed dramas in the world to this day. When he broke with Naturalism, the versatile Strindberg found equal success in producing works informed by Symbolism. He proceeded to become one of the pioneers of the modern European stage and Expressionism.
Strindberg’s most engaging dramas deal with the constant and consuming battle for power between the sexes, bound together in perverse and complex relationships in which desire is mingled with scorn, and negotiated within the strictures imposed on class and gender roles by social conventions. Strindberg continued to write of the alienated modern man, who is desperate and alone in a forsaken universe, until his death in 1912.