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Strindberg - Other Sides

Seven Plays- Translated and introduced by Joe Martin- with a Foreword by Björn Meidal

Joseph Martin

Strindberg - Other Sides: Seven Plays presents fresh translations based upon the new national Swedish edition of Strindberg's works, hewing close to Strindberg's techniques of «scoring» his scripts for actors and directors. The plays are illuminated in introductory essays revaluating Strindberg's role in transforming theatre (and art) with his extraordinary new forms. The Ghost Sonata is a keystone in the construction of the expressionist theatre; in The Pelican Strindberg goes «over the top» with his own form of psychological drama until it soars beyond the realm of realism; The Dance of Death is a battle of the sexes rendered absurd, as a series of games played against the void; and Carl XII is an epic play portraying the last months of the king who brought Sweden's history as a great power to an end. Three one-acts from the late 1880s foreshadow the striking ambiguity of Strindberg's later works.


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Foreword by Björn Meidal vii


FOREWORD by Bjorn Meidal AuGUST S1RINDBERG has been a presence in the United States for more than a hundred years. In 1893 Gustaf Steffen authored the first introduction to his work. In 1899 Nelly Erichsen's translation of The Father appeared. It took unti11905 before Strindberg was presented on an American stage. In that production silent film star Alla Nazimova played Miss Julie-in Russian!-in New York. James Huneker, Strindberg's first champion in America, published Icono- clasts, a study of ten modem dramatists. Strindberg, with whom he was familiar through Emil Schering's German translations, is praised as Sweden's Shakespeare and is commended for drawing splendid characters. He describes Strindberg's dramatic technique as being as revolutionary as Wagner's innovative music-drama. Huneker main- tains additionally that Strindberg is "a good hater." Such work is "rare and stimulating." He considers Miss Julie, Creditors and A Dream Play his best works. The study concludes with the assertion that Strindberg might very easily come to surpass Ibsen, but that the so-called "woman-hater Strindberg" would still have difficulties becoming popular in the United States, "the promised land of woman-worshippers." Huneker's prophecy would be borne out. This, despite the fact that even before Strindberg's death in 1912 Swedish-speaking American translators were in full progress transforming Strindberg's drama to American English. Strindberg wrote to one of them, as a conclusion to a letter: "And so: good luck on your undertaking! which will certainly be long and trying!" After the American premiere of The Father at the Berkeley Lyceum Theatre...

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