In a career spanning forty years, August Strindberg wrote 60 plays. Many were never very popular, and are no longer performed, even in the author's native Sweden, but some have become classics of modern dramatic literature. Try reading The Father (1887), Miss Julie (1889), a short one-act play called The Stronger (1889), or his ‘‘dramatic lyrical-fantasy in fourteen scenes,’’ written partly in prose and partly in verse called A Dream Play (1901).
The Ghost Sonata is often considered an early form of twentieth century experimental drama like Expressionism or Absurdism. Consider reading The Emperor Jones (1920), an expression-istic drama by American playwright Eugene O'Neill, or Samuell Beckett's 1952 absurdist play Waiting for Godot.
Like a handful of other great European writers during the last decades of the nineteenth century, Strindberg was profoundly affected by the movement toward Realism in drama. His Miss Julie (1889), for example, is a realistic drama, interwoven with symbolic imagery. Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House (1880) and Russian writer Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters (1901) are two other examples of turn-of-the-century European Realism.
A dominant theme of The Ghost Sonata becomes the disappointment and pain the world causes, and the search for relief in the afterlife, an idea familiar to Existentialist thinkers and writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. To learn more about Existentialism and its effects on literature, try a critical history like Walter Kaufmann' s Existentialism from Dostoevsky to...
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