Selected Poems of August Strindberg

Selected Poems of August Strindberg

Selected Poems of August Strindberg

Selected Poems of August Strindberg

Synopsis

In this collection, Lofgren has chosen poems from all three volumes of Strindberg's verse to illustrate to the English-speaking reader the development, strengths, and versatility of Strindberg the poet.

Excerpt

August Strindberg(1849–1912) published three volumes of verse, Dikter
på vers ochprosa
(Poems in Verse and Prose) in 1883, Sömngångarnätter
på vakna dagar
(Sleepwalking Nights on Awake Days) in 1884 (“Uppvaknandet
” [“The Awakening”] was added to the 1890 edition), and Ordalek och
småkonst
(Word Play and Minor Art), first published in 1902, reissued with an
expanded text in 1905. Because it spans a large portion of his career, Strindberg
's verse illustrates his growth as an artist from an angle new to Englishspeaking
readers. To date, only isolated poems have been translated into
English, mostly in Swedish-language textbooks; the only exception is a 1978
translation of Sleepwalking Nights by Arvid Paulson. Poems is of considerable
historical interest, although individual poems are sometimes forgettable:
Strindberg is a pioneering realist who introduced a new kind of satirical verse
and free verse into the Swedish canon. The poems of Sleepwalking Nights contain
moments of powerful lyricism but are most known for their polemical
thrust; they trace Strindberg's debates with the world—and with himself—
as he moved toward Inferno, his psychic crisis of the mid-iSgos. Word Play and
Minor Art
contains highly experimental, varied, and often brilliant verse, at
times akin to surreal poetry but antedating it by more than twenty years; the
volume is a remarkable artistic achievement. I have selected for this volume
poems that illustrate Strindberg's strengths, his versatility, and his development
as a poet. It is my hope that readers who know Strindberg mostly from
his plays, which have long been available in English, will here find a Strindberg
in many ways familiar, in his ideas and beliefs (and perhaps also in his ability
to aggravate and fascinate simultaneously), but also fresh, a Strindberg capable
of humor, of true delicacy, and of significant lyrical force. Above all, I hope

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