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August Strindberg Edit Profile

also known as Johan August Strindberg

painter , playwright , writer

Strindberg is a founder of the Intimate Theatre in Stockholm in 1907. His theatre was a model following Max Reinhart's Kammerspiel Haus.

Facts:During Christmas 1911, Strindberg suffered pneumonia and he never got over completely. He also became sick with a stomach disease, presumably cancer. He died on the 14th of May 1912 at the age of 63.


Strindberg was born to a family of Carl Oscar Strindberg (a shipping agent) and Eleonora Ulrika Norling (a serving-maid). He was their third son who managed to survive. At the age of 7 Strindberg moved to Norrtullsgatan, Northern, almost-rural, periphery of the city. A year later the family moved to the suburbs of Sabbatsberg, where they lived for three years before they went back to Norrtullsgatan. Strindberg went to school in Klara for four years. This experience influenced greatly his adult life.Mother's death influenced his vision of the idealised maternal figure and the feeling of loss. Less than a year after her death, his father married another woman.


For a few years Strindberg lived and studied in Uppsala and Stockholm, but he also tried his hand at non-academic pursuits.

In 1867 Strindberg entered the University of Uppsala, where he failed to pass the preliminary examination in chemistry. He worked for a short time at the Royal Dramatic Theatre, and wrote for the stage three plays that were rejected.


Strindberg worked as an assistant in a pharmacy in the university town of Lund in southern Sweden. He earned his living in between studies as a substitute primary-school teacher and as a tutor for the children of two famous physicians in Stockholm. He left Uppsala in 1868 in order to take a position of a schoolteacher, but instead started to study chemistry at the Institute of Technology in Stockholm to prepare for medical studies. Later he worked as a private tutor before becoming an extra at the Royal Theatre in Stockholm. When he came back to his studies at Uppsala University, it was time when he first learnt about the ideas of Charles Darwin. He co-founded the Rune Society, a small club dedicated to literature. Its members adopted pseudonyms taken from runes of the ancient Teutonic alphabet.

The Royal Theatre accepted one-act comedy in verse written by Strindberg. The first night of the comedy took place on the 13th September, 1870. Strindberg was depressed by Uppsala, so he stayed in Stockholm, returning to the university in April to pass an exam in Latin and in June to defend his thesis on Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger's Romantic tragedy Earl Haakon (1802).

His play "The Outlaw" got hostile reviews, but despite them it earned him an audience with King Charles XV, who financed his studies with a payment of 200 riksdaler. Strindberg communicated with writers, painters, journalists, and librarians; they often held meetings in the Red Room in Bern's Restaurant. Many of Strindberg’s works were not accepted to be staged by theatres.

From 1881, at the invitation of Edvard Brandes, Strindberg began to prepare articles for the Morgenbladet, a Copenhagen daily newspaper.

During the 1880s Strindberg traveled a lot, he visited France, Switzerland and Germany. From November 1887 to April 1889, Strindberg was living in Copenhagen. He decided to change his way of life from literary to a scientific one. So he started to write about non-literature subjects.

In the second half of the 1880s Strindberg discovered Naturalism. Later he came to realism. His sympathy for Nietzsche's philosophy and atheism in general also decreased. In the 1890's after his disenchantment with naturalism, Strindberg became interested in transcendental matters.

In 1888, after a separation and reconciliation with Siri von Essen, he founded the Scandinavian Experimental Theatre in Copenhagen, where Siri became a manager. Then, less than a year later, he moved back to Sweden while Siri moved back to her native Finland with the children because the theatre proved to be short-lived.

In 1892, he experienced writer's block, which led to a drastic reduction in his income. Depression followed as he was unable to execute financial obligations and to support his children and former wife. A fund was set up through an appeal in a German magazine. He left Sweden and joined artistic circles in Berlin, Germany. Here he met a group of artists from Scandinavia, Poland, and Germany. His attention turned to Frida Uhl, who was twenty-three years younger than him. They got married in 1893. Less than a year later, their daughter Kerstin was born and the couple separated, though their marriage was not officially dissolved until 1897. Strindberg experienced a strong moral influence of Frida's mother, who was a Catholic.

Some critics think that Strindberg had severe paranoia in the mid 1890s, and perhaps that he suffered temporarily insanity. Others believed he intentionally turned himself into his own guinea pig by doing psychological and drug-induced self-experimentation. He wrote on subjects such as botany, chemistry, and optics before returning to literature with the publication of his edited journals Legends and Jacob Wrestling (both 1898), where he noted his current work was influenced by Emanuel Swedenborg.

In 1899, he went back to Sweden, after a successful production of Master Olaf in 1897. He wished to become the national poet and felt historical dramas were the way to attain that status.

Strindberg was a central figure in the creation of chamber plays. Max Reinhardt was a big admirer of his, staging a few of his plays at the Kleines Theater in 1902. In 1903, Strindberg’s plan was to write a grand cycle of plays, grounded on world history, but the idea soon faded. He completed short plays about Martin Luther, Plato, Moses, Jesus Christ, and Socrates. Strindberg planned that the theatre would stage his plays only, he also had the intention of the theatre being used mainly to perform chamber plays. For the theater's opening, Strindberg wrote four chamber plays: Thunder in the Air, The Burned Site, The Ghost Sonata, and The Pelican. The theatre eventually bankrupted in 1910, but did not close until Strindberg's death in 1912.


  • 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. Taking his cue from William Shakespeare, he began to use colloquial and realistic speech in his historical dramas.

    His career covered four decades, during which he created over 60 plays and more than 30 works of fiction, autobiography, history, cultural analysis, and politics. He explored a various range of dramatic methods and purposes, from naturalistic tragedy, monodrama, and history plays, to his anticipations of expressionist and surrealist dramatic techniques. A satire of Stockholm society gained a status as the first modern Swedish novel. Owing to this Strindberg became famous throughout the whole Scandinavia.


  • authobiography

    • The Son of a Servant

  • book

    • Among French Peasants (1889)

    • Pariah (1889)

    • The Bond and the Link (1893)

  • collection of short stories

    • The New Kingdom, 1882

    • Getting Married

    • Utopias in Reality,1885

  • comedy

    • In Rome

  • essay

    • On Psychic Murder (1887)

  • fairy-tale play

    • Lucky Peter's Journey, 1883

  • novel

    • The Red Room, 1879

    • The Defence of a Fool(1893)

    • The People of Hemsö (1887)

    • The Gothic Rooms (1904)

    • Black Banners Genre Scenes from the Turn of the Century,(1907)

  • play

    • The Outlaw(1871)

    • Master Olof, 1871

    • Sir Bengt's Wife

    • Comrades (1886)

    • By the Open Sea (1890)

    • The Father, 1887

    • Miss Julie, 1888

    • The Stronger (1889).

    • Debit and Credit (1892)

    • Facing Death (1892)

    • Motherly Love (1892)

    • The First Warning (1893)

    • The Keys of Heaven (1892)

    • The Last of the Knights (1908)

    • Earl Birger of Bjalbo (1909)

    • The Regents (1909).

  • Play (comedy)

    • Playing with Fire (1893)

  • play(historical drama)

    • The Secret of the Guild

  • tragicomedy

    • Creditors (1889)

  • trilogy

    • To Damascus (1898–1904)

    • Vasa Trilogy

  • work

    • Days of Loneliness (1903)

    • The Roofing Ceremony (1907)

    • The Scapegoat (1907)


After the trial he evaluated his religious beliefs, he concluded he need to leave Lutheranism, which he had been since childhood, and after briefly being a deist, he became an atheist.


Young Strindberg had an opinion that politics is a conflict between the upper and lower classes due to the history of the Paris Commune in 1871. He was a socialist (or perhaps more of an anarchist, which he himself claimed on at least one occasion). Early on, Strindberg was sympathetic to women of 19th-century Sweden, calling for women's suffrage as early as 1884. However, during other periods he had wildly misogynistic opinions. Strindberg had anti-Semitic pronouncements in some of his works.


  • Philosophers & Thinkers

    Rousseau, Nietzsche

  • Writers

    Was influenced by Søren Kierkegaard and Georg Brandes and Gustave Guiche and Henri de Lavedan.

  • Other Interests

    As a child he had a keen interest in natural science, photography, and religion.

    He was also a telegrapher, theosophist, painter, photographer and alchemist.


Carl Oscar Strindberg - Shipping agent

Eleonora Ulrika Norling - serving maid

Emilia Charlotta Pettersson - Nurse

1st wife:
Siri von Essen - Finnish - actor
Siri von Essen - 1st wife of August Strindberg

In the early summer of 1875 Strindberg came across Siri von Essen who was a 24-year-old aspiring actress, a baroness by virtue of her husband. Strindberg became infatuated with her. A year later on the 30th of December 1877 their wedding took place.

Strindberg and Siri's daughter Karin was born on the 26th of February 1880. Their second daughter, Greta, was born on the 9th of June 1881, while they were on the island of Kymmendö. On the 3rd of April 1884 Siri gave birth to their son, Hans.

2nd wife:
Frida Uhl - Austria - translator , writer
Frida Uhl - 2nd wife of August Strindberg

3d wife:
Harriet Bosse
Harriet Bosse - 3d wife of August Strindberg

Carl Larsson
Carl Larsson - friend of August Strindberg


Émile François Zola


Max Reinhardt
Max Reinhardt - supporter of August Strindberg

actor, director