Strindberg’s Dramaturgy was first published in 1988. The plays of Swedish dramatist August Strindberg have had more productions in the American theater in the past ten to fifteen years than in the sixty-year period following the 1905 New York debut of Miss Julie. Claimed and reclaimed by the theatrical avant-garde -- the Provincetown Players in the 1920s, the Absurdists of the 1960s, and contemporary postmodernists -- the Strindberg repertoire has also been reviled and ignored; only in recent years has it expanded to include the dream plays, once considered too difficult to produce. The authors of this book are aware that the study of Strindberg means little without a deeper understanding of his complex performance history in Europe and North America. Their collective efforts show that production and reception, always a mediating experience between the theater and its audience, is for Strindberg a particularly dynamic event. Always in a state of becoming, each play takes on meaning through the experience of its audience. The contributors to Strindberg’s Dramaturgy -- an international group of scholars, critics, and directors -- explore this complex pattern of signification or meaning in both his dramatic discourse and the actual staging of the plays. Their aim is to better understand Strindberg’s impact on twentieth-century theater from this dual vantage point; the dialectical tension between text and stage characterizes every chapter in the book. Structured in four parts, the book opens with several essays that establish for Strindberg a historical context reaching beyond the theater -- his place in Western humanism, his relation to Nietzsche, his use of myth and of Swedish history. The essays in Part 2 explore the nature of Strindberg’s modernism, and those in Part 3 contrast the naturalistic plays of the 1880s with the post-Inferno dramas to test continuities and changes in his work as it became, in Eugene O’Neill’s words, “supernaturalistic.” In the last part, the authors tackle the dramaturgy of the dream plays, emphasizing the challenge they have always posed in the realm of creative stagecraft. The book’s illustrations include set designs and photographs of major Strindberg productions from the turn of the century on. The contributors, besides Stockenström, include: Sven Delblanc, Evert Sprinchorn, Harry G. Carlson, Manfred Karnick, Elinor Fuchs, Gunnar Brandell, Richard Bark, Freddie Rokem, James McFarlane, Maurice Gravier, Frederick J. Marker, Lise-Lone Marker, Susan Brantly, Timo Tiusanen, Barry Jacobs, Göran Söderström, Ingvar Holm, Egil Törnqvist, Susan Einhorn, Sarah Bryant-Bertail, Jon M. Berry, and Paul Walsh.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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