August Strindberg

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Johan August Strindberg (About this sound pronounced ; 22 January 1849 – 14 May 1912) was a Swedish playwright, novelist, and essayist.[1] A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg's career spanned four decades, during which time wrote over 60 plays and more than 30 works of fiction, autobiography, history, cultural analysis, and politics.[2] A bold experimenter and iconoclast throughout, he explored a wide range of dramatic methods and purposes, from naturalistic tragedy, monodrama, and history plays, to his anticipations of expressionist and surrealist dramatic techniques.[3] From his earliest work, Strindberg developed forms of dramatic action, language, and visual composition so innovative that many were to become technically possible to stage only with the advent of film.[4] He is considered the "father" of modern Swedish literature and his The Red Room (1879) has frequently been described as the first modern Swedish novel.[5]

The Royal Theatre rejected his first major play, Master Olof, in 1872; it was not until 1881, at the age of 32, that its première at the New Theatre gave him his theatrical breakthrough.[6] In his plays The Father (1887), Miss Julie (1888), and Creditors (1889), he created naturalistic dramas that—building on the established accomplishments of Henrik Ibsen's prose problem plays while rejecting their use of the structure of the well-made play—responded to the call-to-arms of Émile Zola's manifesto "Naturalism in the Theatre" (1881) and the example set by André Antoine's newly-established Théâtre Libre (opened 1887).[7] In Miss Julie, characterisation replaces plot as the predominant dramatic element (in contrast to melodrama and the well-made play) and the determining role of heredity and the environment on the "vacillating, disintegrated" characters is emphasised.[8] Strindberg modelled his short-lived Scandinavian Experimental Theatre (1889) in Copenhagen on Antoine's theatre and he explored the theory of Naturalism in his essays "On Psychic Murder" (1887), "On Modern Drama and the Modern Theatre" (1889), and a preface to Miss Julie, the last of which is probably the best-known statement of the principles of the theatrical movement.[9]

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