60 Works of August Strindberg
In the northern tower of the Church of Notre Dame de Paris was the tower-watchman’s chamber. But it had been arranged like a bookbinder’s workshop, for the watchman’s day-duty was not particularly heavy, and the hours of the night passed with sleep or without sleep, no one troubling themselves to oversee this now superfluous church [...]
Monsieur Voltaire, gentleman-in-waiting to Frederick the Great, possessor of the much prized Order Pour Le Merite, Academician, and many other things besides, had been for three years a guest at Sans-Souci, near Potsdam. He was sitting this beautiful evening in the wing of the castle where he lived, busy writing a letter. The air was [...]
Cardinal Wolsey’s oared galley pushed off from the Tower Bridge, below the iron gateway. It gleamed with red and gold; flags and sails flapped lazily in a gentle breeze. The Cardinal sat on the stern-deck surrounded by his little court; most of his attendants he had left at home in York Palace, later known as [...]
While the peace negotiations were being carried on in Osnabruck and Munster, the Thirty Years’ War still flamed up here and there, more perhaps to keep the troops in practice, to provide support for the soldiers, and to have booty at command, than to defend any faith or the adherents of it.
All talk of religion [...]
On the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland lay the little village Strelna, halfway between Petersburg and the half-completed Peterhof. At the end of the village, on the edge of the Strelka stream, stood a simple country-house under oaks and pines. It was painted green and red, and the window-shutters were still fastened, for [...]
In the year 1483, the same year in which Luther was born, Doctor Coctier sat in his laboratory at Paris, and carried on a philosophical discussion with a chemical expert who was passing through the city.
The laboratory was in the same building as his observatory, in the Marais quarter of the town, a site occupied [...]
EASTER, A.D. 843,
The Benedictine Convent in Seligenstadt on the Main.
To my dear wife and present sister in Christ,
Emma, from Eginhard, formerly secretary to Charles the Great, now a monk in Seligenstadt on the Main:
Passion-week is at an end, and the Resurrection days are here; spring has melted the frost; mind and memory have woken, and [...]
In the year 998 A.D. Rome had become a German Empire and the German Emperor had become a Roman. Otto III, brought up by his Graeco-Byzantine mother Theofano, had inherited her love of the southern lands, and therefore generally occupied his palace on the Aventine, installed himself as Emperor, and cherished a plan of converting [...]
Christendom had awoken to new life after the great and terrible New Year’s Eve of 999. Nearly a hundred more years had passed when a ragged barefooted pilgrim wandered out of the gate of Caesarea, on the shore of the Mediterranean. This was the town from which Paul had sailed for Rome in order to [...]
On the Esquiline Hill in Rome, on a spring day in 1506, Signer de Fredis was walking in his vineyard. The day before, his workmen had been digging a pit to seek water, but found none. Signer de Fredis stood by it, and asked himself whether it was not a pity that so much earth [...]
With the demise of Constantine the Great, Greece, Rome, and Palestine had ceased to exist. Civilisation had passed Eastward, for Constantinople was the metropolis of Europe; and from the East, Rome, Spain, Gaul, and Germany were governed by satraps with various titles. It seemed as though the vitality of Europe had been quenched, and as [...]
Rome had become a provincial town and a dependency of Byzantium. It was governed by an Exarch in Ravenna, but often abandoned to its fate when the barbarians from the north amused themselves from time to time by raiding and pillaging it. For three hundred years no Emperor had visited Rome, and the former queen [...]
After the death of Gregory the Great, Christianity seemed to have conquered all Europe which was known at the time, and also Byzantium, Palestine, Egypt, and the north coast of Africa. The conqueror was about to betake himself to rest, when a quite new and unexpected event happened which threatened Christendom with destruction and heralded [...]
After the death of Socrates, the greatness of Athens was no more. Sparta ruled for a time, and then came the turn of Thebes. Subsequently the Macedonians invaded the country, and governed it till the year 196 B.C., when the Romans conquered both Macedonia and Greece, and completely destroyed Corinth, but spared Athens, which was [...]
A caravan was encamped on a height eastward of the ancient Egyptian town Heliopolis. There were many people in it, but all were Hebrews. They had come on camels and asses from Palestine through the desert –the same desert which the Israelites had passed through thousands of years before.
In the evening twilight, by the faint [...]
Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch, had come to Jerusalem, because there was much unrest among the populace. He had taken up his dwelling with Pilate, the Governor. Since on the preceding evening he had witnessed a gladiatorial show in the circus and then taken part in an orgy, he slept late into the morning–so late that [...]
Before the temple of Jupiter Latiaris in Rome, two men of the middle classes met each other. They both remained standing in order to contemplate the new temple, which was different from all others, and looked as if it had felt the effects of an earthquake. The basement had the shape of a roof; the [...]
At a date rather more than three hundred years after the Birth of Christ, the stage of the world’s history had shifted from the Mediterranean to the East. Greece was sunk in everlasting sleep, Rome lay in ruins and had become a tributary state. Jerusalem was destroyed, Alexandria at the mouth of the Nile in [...]
After a hot day the sun began to sink, and the market-place lay already in shadow. The shadow rose and climbed up the Acropolis, on which the shield of Pallas still gleamed as the aegis of the city.
Before the vari-coloured colonnade stood a group of men who had assembled before the semi-circular marble seat called [...]
Kartaphalos, the shoemaker, sat in his shop by the Acarnanian Gate, and repaired cothurns for the Dionysian theatre, which was about to make a last attempt to revive the tragic drama, which had been eclipsed by the farces of Aristophanes. The Roman Lucillus lounged at the window-sill, and, since philosophy had been brought into fashion [...]
Sparta had conquered Athens, and Athens lay in ruins. The government by the people was over, and the rule of the Thirty Tyrants had succeeded it. Socrates and Euripides walked with sad faces among the ruins on the Agora.
Socrates spoke: “We are on the ruins of Athens’ walls! We have become Spartans. We would have [...]
It was on the evening of a spring day in 1880 (a day which will never be forgotten in Sweden, because it is the day of commemoration of a national event), when an old couple, simple country people, were standing on the headland at the entrance to the harbour of Stockholm, looking at the dark [...]
If you are standing at the harbour where all the steamers call, and look out towards the sea, you will see a mountain on your left, covered with green trees, and behind the trees a large house built in the shape of a spider. For in the centre there is a round building from which [...]
The old worker in ebony and cabinet-maker, Amram, dwelt by the river-side in a clay-hut which was covered with palm-leaves. There he lived with his wife and three children. He was yellow in complexion and wore a long beard. Skilled in his trade of carving ebony and hard wood, he attended at Pharaoh’s court, and [...]
The pilot cutter lay outside, beyond the last beacon fire on the headland; the winter sun had set long ago and the sea ran high; it was the real sea with real huge breakers. Suddenly the first mate signalled: “Sailing ship to windward.”
Far out at sea, a long way off the harbour, a brig was [...]
Once upon a time there was a photographer. He was a splendid photographer; he did profiles and full-faces, three-quarter and full-length portraits; he could develop and fix, tone and print them. He was the deuce of a fellow! But he was always discontented, for he was a philosopher, a great philosopher and a discoverer. His [...]
The last furniture van had left; the tenant, a young man with a crape band round his hat, walked for the last time through the empty rooms to make sure that nothing had been left behind. No, nothing had been forgotten, nothing at all. He went out into the front hall, firmly determined never to [...]
In Midsummer days when in the countries of the North the earth is a bride, when the ground is full of gladness, when the brooks are still running, the flowers in the meadows still untouched by the scythe, and all the birds singing, a dove flew out of the wood and sat down before the [...]
An eel-mother and her son were lying at the bottom of the sea, close to the landing-stage, watching a young fisherman getting ready his line.
“Just look at him!” said the eel-mother, “there you have an example of the malice and cunning of the world . … Watch him! He is holding a whip in his [...]
Conductor Crossberg was fond of lying in bed in the morning, firstly, because he had to conduct the orchestra in the evening, and secondly, because he drank more than one glass of beer before he went home and to bed. He had tried once or twice to get up early, but had found no sense [...]
Once upon a time there was a king whose name was John Lackland, and it is not difficult to imagine the reason why.
But another time there lived a great singer who was called “Jubal, who had no I,” and I am now going to tell you the reason.
The name which he had inherited from his [...]
It was Saturday night in Goeschenen, in the canton of Uri, that part of Switzerland which William Tell and Walter Fuerst have made famous. The pretty green village on the northern side of the St. Gotthard is situated on a little stream which drives a mill-wheel and contains trout. Quiet, kindly people live there, who [...]
Listen to the story of a young opera-singer who was so beautiful that the people in the street turned round to stare at her when she passed. And she was not only very beautiful, but she had a better voice than most singers.
The conductor of the orchestra, who was also a composer, came and laid [...]
The rich man had visited the poor island and fallen in love with it. He could not have said why, but he was charmed; probably the island resembled some memory of his childhood, or, perhaps, a beautiful dream.
He bought the island, built a villa, and planted all sorts of lovely trees, shrubs, and flowers. And [...]
Anders was the son of poor people, and in his youth he had wandered through many kingdoms, with a bale of cloth and a yard-measure on his back. But as he grew older he carne to the conclusion that it would be better to wear the king’s uniform and carry a rifle on his shoulder, [...]
She was plain and therefore the coarse young men who don’t know how to appreciate a beautiful soul in an ugly body took no notice of her. But she was wealthy, and she knew that men run after women for the sake of their wealth; whether they do it because all wealth has been created [...]
OR DEBIT AND CREDIT
Mr. Blackwood was a wharfinger at Brooklyn and had married Miss Dankward, who brought him a dowry of modern ideas. To avoid seeing his beloved wife playing the part of his servant, Mr. Blackwood had taken rooms in a boarding house.
The wife, who had nothing whatever to do, spent the day in [...]
Her father was a general, her mother died when she was still a baby. After her mother’s death few ladies visited the house; the callers were mostly men. And her father took her education into his own hands.
She went out riding with him, was present at the manoeuvres, took an interest in gymnastics and attended [...]
The young barrister was strolling on a lovely spring evening through the old Stockholm Hop-Garden. Snatches of song and music came from the pavilion; light streamed through the large windows and lit up the shadows cast by the great lime trees which were just bursting into leaf.
He went in, sat down at a vacant table [...]
They had been married for ten years. Happily? Well, as happily as circumstances permitted. They had been running in double harness, like two young oxen of equal strength, each of which is conscientiously doing his own share.
During the first year of their marriage they buried many illusions and realised that marriage was not perfect bliss. [...]
His father died early and from that time forth he was in the hands of a mother, two sisters and several aunts. He had no brother. They lived on an estate in the Swedish province, Soedermanland, and had no neighbours with whom they could be on friendly terms. When he was seven years old, a [...]
He was a supernumerary at the Board of Trade and drew a salary of twelve hundred crowns. He had married a young girl without a penny; for love, as he himself said, to be no longer compelled to go to dances and run about the streets, as his friends maintained. But be that as it [...]
They had been married for six years, but they were still more like lovers than husband and wife. He was a captain in the navy, and every summer he was obliged to leave her for a few months; twice he had been away on a long voyage. But his short absences were a blessing in [...]
The wild strawberries were getting ripe when he met her for the first time at the vicarage. He had met many girls before, but when he saw her he knew; this was she! But he did not dare to tell her so, and she only teased him for he was still at school.
He was an [...]
One evening the husband came home with a roll of music under his arm and said to his wife:
“Let us play duets after supper!”
“What have you got there?” asked his wife.
“Romeo and Julia, arranged for the piano. Do you know it?”
“Yes, of course I do,” she replied, “but I don’t remember ever having seen it [...]
She had noticed with indignation that girls were solely brought up to be housekeepers for their future husbands. Therefore she had learnt a trade which would enable her to keep herself in all circumstances of life. She made artificial flowers.
He had noticed with regret that girls simply waited for a husband who should keep them; [...]
Her father had insisted on her learning book-keeping, so that she might escape the common lot of young womanhood; to sit there and wait for a husband.
She was now employed as book-keeper in the goods department of the Railways, and was universally looked upon as a very capable young woman. She had a way of [...]
His eyes had been opened. He realised the perversity of the world, but he lacked the power to penetrate the darkness and discover the cause of this perversity; therefore he gave himself up to despair, a disillusioned man. Then he fell in love with a girl who married somebody else. He complained of her conduct [...]
OR THE ORIGIN OF RACE
The Baron had read in The Slaves of Life with disgust and indignation that the children of the aristocracy were bound to perish unless they took the mothers’ milk from the children of the lower classes. He had read Darwin and believed that the gist of his teaching was that through [...]
He was considered a genius at College, and no one doubted that he would one day distinguish himself. But after passing his examinations, he was obliged to go to Stockholm and look out for a berth. His dissertation, which was to win him the doctor’s degree, had to be postponed. As he was very ambitious, [...]
Punctually at half past nine on a winter evening he appears at the door leading to the glass-roofed verandah of the restaurant. While, with mathematical precision, he takes off his gloves, he peers over his dim spectacles, first to the right, then to the left, to find out whether any of his acquaintances are present. [...]
The assistant had not thought of studying the price of wheat before he called on the major to ask him for the hand of his daughter; but the major had studied it.
“I love her,” said the assistant.
“What’s your salary?” said the old man.
“Well, twelve hundred crowns, at present; but we love one another….”
“That has nothing [...]
He had just completed his thirteenth year when his mother died. He felt that he had lost a real friend, for during the twelve months of her illness he had come to know her personally, as it were, and established a relationship between them which is rare between parents and children. He was a clever [...]
He wakes up in the morning from evil dreams of bills which have become due and copy which has not been delivered. His hair is damp with cold perspiration, and his cheeks tremble as he dresses himself. He listens to the chirruping of the children in the next room and plunges his burning face into [...]
Translator: Edith and Warner Oland
MME. X., an actress, marriedMLLE. Y., an actress, unmarriedA WAITRESS
[SCENE--The corner of a ladies' cafe. Two little iron tables, a red velvet sofa, several chairs. Enter Mme. X., dressed in winter clothes, carrying a Japanese basket on her arm.]
[MLLE. Y. sits with a half empty beer bottle before her, reading an [...]
COUNTESS JULIE, twenty-five years oldJEAN, a valet, thirtyKRISTIN, a cook, thirty-fiveFARM SERVANTS
The action takes place on Saint John’s night, the mid-summer festival surviving from pagan times.
[SCENE.--A large kitchen. The ceiling and walls are partially covered by draperies and greens. The back wall slants upward from left side of scene. On back wall, left, are two [...]
TRANSLATED WITH INTRODUCTIONS BY EDWIN BJOeRKMAN
The volume containing the translation of “There Are Crimes and Crimes” had barely reached the public when word came across the ocean that August Strindberg had ended his long fight with life. His family had long suspected some serious organic trouble. Early in the year, when lie had just recovered [...]
MONSIEUR DURAND, a pension proprietor, formerly connected with thestate railroadADELE, his daughter, twenty-sevenANNETTE, his daughter, twenty-fourTHERESE, his daughter, twenty-fourANTONIO, a lieutenant in an Italian cavalry regiment in FrenchSwitzerland in the eightiesPIERRE, an errand boy
[SCENE--A dining-room with a long table. Through the open door is seen, over the tops of churchyard cypress trees, Lake Leman, with [...]
TRANSLATED FROM THE SWEDISH, WITH INTRODUCTIONS BY EDWIN BJORKMAN
This is one of the three plays which Strindberg placed at the head of his dramatic production during the middle ultra-naturalistic period, the other two being “The Father” and “Miss Julia.” It is, in many ways, one of the strongest he ever produced. Its rarely excelled [...]
MR. X., an archeologistMR. Y., a traveller from America
[SCENE--Simple room in a country house; door and window at back, through which one sees a country landscape. In the middle of the room a large dining table; on one side of it books and writing materials and on the other side some antiques, a microscope, [...]