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The Eccentricity of August Strindberg: Taken From
     

The Eccentricity of August Strindberg: Taken From "Prophets of Dissent"

by Otto Heller
 
ONE cannot speak of August Strindberg with much gusto. The most broadminded critic will find himself under necessity to disapprove of him as a man and to condemn so many features of his production that almost one might question his fitness as a subject of literary discussion. Nevertheless, his importance is beyond dispute and quite above the consideration of personal

Overview

ONE cannot speak of August Strindberg with much gusto. The most broadminded critic will find himself under necessity to disapprove of him as a man and to condemn so many features of his production that almost one might question his fitness as a subject of literary discussion. Nevertheless, his importance is beyond dispute and quite above the consideration of personal like or dislike, whether we view him in his creative capacity, — as an intellectual and ethical spokesman of his time, — or in his human character, — as a typical case of certain mental and moral maladies which somehow during his time were more or less epidemic throughout the lettered world. We have it on excellent authority that at his debut in the literary theatre he made the stage quake with the elemental power of his personality. Gigantic rebels like Ibsen, Bjoernson, Nietzsche, and Tolstoy, we are told, dwindled to normal proportions beside his titanic stature. He aimed to conquer and convert the whole world by his fanatical protest against the rotten civilization of his time. The attempt proved an utter failure. He never could grow into a world-figure, because he lacked the courage as well as the cosmopolitan adaptability needed for intellectual expatriation. Hence, in great contrast to Ibsen, he remained to Europe at large the uncouth Scandinavian, while in the eyes of Scandinavia he was specifically the Swede; and his country-men, even though they acknowledged him their premier poet, treated him, because of his eccentricity, as a national gazing-stock rather than as a genuine national asset. Yet for all that, he ranks as the foremost writer of his country and one of the representative men of the age. His poetic genius is admitted by practically all the critics, while the greatest among them, George Brandes, pronounces him in addition an unsurpassed master in the command of his mother tohgue. But his position as a writer is by no means limited to his own little country. For his works have been translated into all civilized languages, and if the circulation of literary products is a safe indication of their influence, then several of Strindberg's books at least must be credited with having done something toward shaping the thought of our time upon some of its leading issues. In any case, the large and durable interest shown his productions marks Strindberg as a literary phenomenon of sufficient consequence to deserve some study. It is a pleasure to publish this new, high quality, and affordable edition of this timeless essay. This essay originally appeared in the book “Prophets of Dissent” by Otto Heller.

Product Details

BN ID:
2940012913975
Publisher:
Petra Books
Publication date:
06/01/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
25
File size:
131 KB

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