August Strindberg (born January 22, 1849 in Stockholm, died May 14, 1912 therein) - Swedish writer. Creator of plays, novels, essays and poetry, painter and photographer. Considered the father of contemporary theater. Representative of naturalism and precursor of expressionism.
He was born into a poor middle class family. His father was selling tickets for passenger ships, his mother was a former servant, married to her employer. After studies in Uppsala, which he had to quit due to lack of money, and episodes - acting and journalistic - in 1874 he was employed at the Royal Library in Stockholm. In 1872 he wrote his first mature drama Master Olof, in which the prototype of the protagonist is Olaus Petri, the creator of the Swedish Reformation. Strindberg was a frequent visitor to the "Red Room" at the Berns restaurant, where the artistic and literary community met. And this is the title, The Red Room, for his novel, published in 1879, which became groundbreaking in both Strindberg's writing career and Swedish literature.
In 1875 Strindberg met Siri von Essen, with whom he married in 1877. A turbulent marriage lasting 14 years was, among others, inspiration for the novel (written in French) Confession of a Madman (1888). In 1883, as a result of a witch-hunt after the publication of a collection of journalistic texts New State (1882), Strindberg left Sweden with his family; first he left for France and then for Switzerland. He exposed himself to further trouble by publishing the first volume of short stories entitled Marriage Stories (1884). The circulation was confiscated and Strindberg accused of offending religion, but an acquittal was passed in the trial.
Still in voluntary exile, this time in France, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark, Strindberg wrote the most important of his works: the autobiography The Son of a Servant (1886), the novel The Inhabitants of Hemsö (1887) and the naturalistic dramas Father (1887) and Miss Julia (1888). He briefly returned to Sweden, where he wrote the novel On the Sea (1890). However, after divorcing his first wife, he decided to leave Sweden again and go to Berlin. There he moved in the circles of the German-Scandinavian bohemia, which included, among others Stanisław Przybyszewski and Edvard Munch, he also met Frida Uhl, an Austrian journalist who briefly became his wife.
After the breakup of his second marriage, Strindberg left for Paris, fell into a deep depression and suffered a long-term mental breakdown known as the Inferna crisis. His depression was aggravated by material problems that actually accompanied him throughout his life. This crisis is described in the novels Inferno (1897) and Legends (1898). During this time, he also began to write his Occult Journal (covering the years 1896-1908), but forbade it to be published. The first fragments of the Diary did not appear in print until 1977.
After the crisis in 1898, the writer returned to Sweden, where he remained until the end of his life. It was during this period that he wrote the dramas To Damascus (1898), Crimes and Crimes (1899) and the first of a series of historical dramas, incl. Gustaw Waza and Erik XIV (1899). The Norwegian actress Harriet Bosse, who in 1901 became Strindberg's third wife, played the role of the Lady in the theater production To Damascus. The writer wrote the play Swan White for her. This marriage, too, did not last long.
In 1907, Strindberg, together with the director and actor August Falck, opened his own theater, the Intima Teatern, which inaugurated the art of Pelikan. For this theater, Strindberg wrote chamber works, incl. Burza and Sonata ghosts (1907).
A lot of myths and popular views (about mental illness and misogyny) arose around August Strindberg, resulting from the misinterpretation of his works as strictly autobiographical. Modern researchers (incl