Strindberg A Life Sue Prideaux

Format:
Paperback
Publication date:
20 Jul 2013
ISBN:
9780300198065
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
352 pages: 197 x 127mm
Illustrations:
20 color + 50 b-w illus.

Novelist, satirist, poet, photographer, painter, alchemist, and hellraiser—August Strindberg was all these, and yet he is principally known, in Arthur Miller's words, as "the mad inventor of modern theater" who led playwriting out of the polite drawing room into the snakepit of psychological warfare. This biography, supported by extensive new research, describes the eventful and complicated life of one of the great literary figures in world literature. Sue Prideaux organizes Strindberg's story into a gripping and highly readable narrative that both illuminates his work and restores humor and humanity to a man often shrugged off as too difficult.

Best known for his play Miss Julie, Strindberg wrote sixty other plays, three books of poetry, eighteen novels, and nine autobiographies. Even more than most, Strindberg is a writer whose life sheds invaluable light on his work. Prideaux explores Strindberg's many art-life connections, revealing for the first time the originals who inspired the characters of Miss Julie and her servant Jean, the bizarre circumstances in which the play was written, and the real suicide that inspired the shattering ending of the play. Recounting the playwright's journey through the "real" world as well as the world of belief and ideas, Prideaux marks the centenary of Strindberg's death in 1912 with a biography worthy of the man who laid the foundation for Western drama through the twentieth century and even into the twenty-first.

Sue Prideaux is a writer living in Sussex, UK. Her book Edvard Munch: Behind the Scream won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in biography.

"What an absolutely extraordinary man August Strindberg was, and what a tormented, demented life he led! I haven’t read such a fascinating biography for ages.”—Sam Leith, The Spectator  

“[A] rich and absorbing biography…Writing the biography of a frenzied, unstable genius like Strindberg is an enormous challenge, and Prideaux rises to it with fine authority.”—John Carey, The Sunday Times

“In Prideaux’s hands, Strindberg, a vulnerable but also naively determined man, with striking chaotic hair like a combed back walnut whip, comes vividly to life. Indeed, the joy of her book is in the detail, from quoted letters and diaries and some stunning photography.”—Tim Auld, The Sunday Telegraph

“… [An] absorbing new study…Prideaux is a deft guide to the absinthe-heavy bohemian underworlds of Berlin and Paris which Strindberg inhabited for much of the 1890s.”— Claudia FitzHerbert, The Daily Telegraph

“…The Strindberg portrayed in this detailed, accessible biography which coincides with the centenary of his death on 12 May 1912, reveals a man and a writer few in the English speaking world will have the notion of…Sue Prideaux’s lively account of a wilful, passionate, often deranged pilgrimage in search of truth, artistic honesty and finally, God, will change our narrow perspective on the astonishing polymath.”—Robert Carver, The Tablet