Strindberg Year 2012 at Gustavus

Posted on November 8th, 2012 by

On Thursday, November 15, Swedish author and documentary producer Lena Einhorn will present the lecture “August Strindberg and His Turbulent Life” at 7:30 p.m. in Confer 127. This lecture is one of the ways the Gustavus community is able to take part in the Strindberg Year 2012 events happening around campus.

Swedish author, playwright, and artist August Strindberg – a brilliant and yet highly controversial figure – died a hundred years ago this year. In this centenary year of his death, his works and life are being celebrated around the world. Considered by many to be among the most innovative of authors writing in the Swedish language, Strindberg is known not only for his extensive corpus of writing, but also for his complicated personality. Billed as a blasphemer, social radical, atheist, and tormented artist throughout his life, he is also often criticized for the way he engaged with the “Woman Question” during the Scandinavian Modern Breakthrough—labels and criticism which continue to haunt him today and are more complex than they may, at first, seem.

Lena Einhorn’s talk “August Strindberg and His Turbulent Life” will address these complexities, and focus, in particular, on Strindberg’s relationship with his first wife, the Finland-Swedish baroness-cum-actress Siri von Essen. Einhorn’s most-recent book, Siri (2011), is a novel, written from von Essen’s perspective, about her life with Strindberg. Einhorn is also the editor of Om Strindberg (On Strindberg, 2010), a collection of photos of Strindberg with commentary by Sweden’s leading contemporary cultural critics, literary scholars, and authors.

In late October, students in Kjerstin Moody’s SCA-100 “Scandinavian Life and Culture” read and analyzed Strindberg’s play Den starkare (The Stronger) and had the chance to see one of Strindberg’s expressions as a visual artist, his painting “Solnedgång” (“Sunset”), which is on campus through December 2, as part of the Hillstrom Museum of Art’s “150 Years of Swedish Art: Highlights from the Swedish National Collections in Stockholm (Moderna Museet and Nationalmuseum).”

On November 29, Gustavus’s Department of Theatre and Dance will present “The Strindberg Project” a new and creative platform to showcase selections and interpretations of some of the playwright’s works by the students of Henry MacCarthy’s T/D-130: “Foundations of Western Theatre.” The project will take place at various spaces inside the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library on campus, starting at 12:30 p.m. Audience members will have the opportunity to walk around the library and watch, at their leisure, eight different vignettes presented simultaneously across the Library, each lasting ten minutes. The students have been given free creative license to explore how Strindberg’s themes and messages are presented in specific plays, including, but not limited to, The Burned House, Storm Weather, Playing with Fire, and The Pelican. These presentations will run until 2:20 p.m.

All events are free and open to the public.

A list of events commemorating Strindberg happening throughout the Americas can be found at:


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