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Locating August Strindberg's Prose

Locating August Strindberg's Prose: Modernism, Transnationalism, and Setting

Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 224
  • Book Info
    Locating August Strindberg's Prose
    Book Description:

    By contextualizing August Strindberg against other early modernists, including Kafka, Conrad, Rilke, and Breton, Stenport emphasizes the burgeoning transnationality of literature at the turn of the last century.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9020-2
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-17)

    If you were to name the locations of European literary modernism, would London, Paris, Vienna, New York, or Berlin rank at the top of your list? Or Dublin and Prague, perhaps? But what about Stockholm? Or the rural countryside of France? How about the railway lines connecting Copenhagen to an anonymous boarding house in Bavaria, or an ethnographic exhibition of thousands of artefacts brought from Congo to Sweden by missionaries and military; or an Alpine landscape in Austria? Similarly, which national traditions and languages would you use initially to exemplify the movement? Anglophone or francophone, perhaps? But what about a...

  5. 1 National Betrayal: Public, Private, and Railway Travel in A Madman’s Defence
    (pp. 18-54)

    Location is critical to Strindberg’s drama and prose from the late 1880s. Settings are marked by experimentation and transformation, while these reconceive ideological foundations for national and gendered public-private paradigms. This is evident in the playsThe Father(1887),Miss Julie(1888) with its famous manifesto preface, andCreditors(1888; first published 1890), which provide the foundation for Strindberg’s international reputation.The Fatheris set in the drawing room of a country manor that figuratively turns into an insane asylum,Miss Juliein a kitchen of a count’s estate where characters talk repeatedly of escaping by train to continental Europe,...

  6. 2 Rural Modernism: Ethnography, Photography, and Recollection in Among French Peasants
    (pp. 55-87)

    It is perhaps curious that one of the major projects August Strindberg sets out to complete in self-proclaimed exile from Sweden is a study of the French peasantry. This work,Among French Peasants: Subjective Travelogues(Bland franska bönder: Subjektiva reseskildringar) (1889), is rarely read today, although it allows for a fascinating and contrarian reading of European modernity, and gives unexpected insights into emergent literary modernism. In fact, Strindberg’s writing on French peasants seeks to rewrite the location of the French countryside in two different ways, through modern ethnography and via aesthetic techniques that draw on impressionistic photography and emphasize subjective...

  7. 3 Parisian Streets, Pre-Surrealism, and Pastoral Landscapes in Inferno
    (pp. 88-124)

    After his second extended stay in Paris, this time on the left bank near the Montparnasse Cemetery, August Strindberg completed in late spring of 1897 a second long first-person prose narrative in French. He was living in the southern Swedish university town Lund at the time, but left again for Paris in the fall of that year to promote in person the publication of this work, calledInferno. It was published in Swedish, Danish, and German translations later that year. In early 1898, La Société de Mercure de France issued it in Paris. It met complete silence in the French...

  8. 4 Speed, Displacements, and Berlin Modernity in The Cloister
    (pp. 125-155)

    As I argue in this book, many of Strindberg’s prose texts formulate and illustrate an intriguing logic of multilingual and transnational relationships, particularly in relation to France and French-language culture. Late nineteenth-century Sweden’s and Scandinavia’s multifaceted relationship with Germany come to the forefront in one of Strindberg’s few texts set in Berlin. InThe Cloister(Klostret), a deliberate conceptualization of transnational literary modernism as predicated on speed, transience, and displacement is advocated as an explicit rejection not only of the aesthetics and epistemology of realism and naturalism, but also of symbolism and decadence. Composed in Swedish in Sweden in 1898...

  9. 5 Recording, Habitation, and Colonial Imaginations in The Roofing Ceremony
    (pp. 156-186)

    As a transnational writer and émigré with personal experience of the centre-periphery paradigm that unevenly shaped European discourses about literary innovation in the late nineteenth century, Strindberg returns again and again in his writing to reinscribe complex relationships with Stockholm, Paris, and Berlin. It seems that the full extent of Strindberg’s authorial identity as transnational, as fluid and dynamic, was quickly suppressed in Swedish culture at the time and has been in Strindberg scholarship since then. Complex and multilayered factors of geography, location, culture, aesthetics, and literary innovation coalesce in new ways in Strindberg’s writing upon his permanent return to...

  10. Works Cited
    (pp. 187-204)
  11. Index
    (pp. 205-216)