August Strindberg (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
Johan August Strindberg was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on January 22, 1849. His father’s background was in the middle class, while his mother was of working-class origin. Although Strindberg later romantically referred to himself as “the son of the maidservant”; he was, in fact, clearly reared in a middle-class environment.
Strindberg was reared around the business of his father, a steamship agent, and early developed an appreciation for the sea, especially the Stockholm archipelago, which was to become the setting for two of his most important novels, The Natives of Hemsö (1887) and By the Open Sea (1890). Not intended by his father to become a businessman, however, the young man received his matriculation certificate in 1867 and soon thereafter settled in as a student at the Uppsala Universitet.
Academic life was not entirely to Strindberg’s liking. He was only intermittently a full-time student and for a time earned his living as a tutor and as an elementary schoolteacher. During this time, he wrote some minor plays. In 1872, he abandoned his university studies and became increasingly serious about his writing. A prose drama titled Master Olof (1872) was the first evidence of this new literary seriousness, but as the play was not performed for some time, Strindberg had to make ends meet by working as a journalist and assistant at Stockholm’s Royal Library. In 1875, Strindberg met Siri von Essen, then...
(The entire section is 1993 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
The Atlantic. CCLV, February, 1985, p. 101.
Book World. XIV, December 30, 1984, p. 1.
Library Journal. CIX, October 1, 1984, p. 1844.
Los Angeles Times. December 19, 1984, V, p. 13.
The New York Times Book Review. XC, January 6, 1985, p. 1.
Observer. October 28, 1984, p. 24.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXVI, November 23, 1984, p. 64.
Times Literary Supplement. November 9, 1984, p. 1286.
(The entire section is 43 words.)