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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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Preface xiii


PREFACE W1rn the publication of this new volume of translations of Strind- berg plays, it is my hope that more will be accomplished than simply providing stageworthy English versions, that accurately reflect the intentions of the Swedish master playwright. There has been a steady and ongoing revaluation of his works taking place over recent decades, perhaps beginning with Eric Bentley's seminal The Playwright as Thinker; followed by publication in English of some of Strindberg's many novels; biographies such as that of Olof Lagercrantz; collec- tions on Strindberg's socially engaged work in Swedish by, among others, Jan Myrdal; and the release in a facsimile edition of his huge Occult Diary (Ockulta Dagboken). There have been increasingly successful attempts to stage his so-called dream plays throughout the world, and in Sweden there has been a return to that same material as well as his dozen or so little-known history plays, which run the gamut from Shakespearean-style chronicle to expressionistic epic. Nevertheless, a rather garish image of Strindberg still lingers in North America and England-very different from the understanding of Strindberg the man and the artist which one finds in Germany, France and of course the Scandinavian countries. If I were to summarize this distorted image of Strindberg as found among American and some British intellectuals-thereby perhaps distorting it further-it would sound something like this: "Strindberg. Yes of course we know him: The misogynist who went mad-but wrote three great plays about the battle of the sexes for therapy." Others are aware of...

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