The Vasa Trilogy: Master Olof, Gustav Vasa, Erik XIV

The Vasa Trilogy: Master Olof, Gustav Vasa, Erik XIV

The Vasa Trilogy: Master Olof, Gustav Vasa, Erik XIV

The Vasa Trilogy: Master Olof, Gustav Vasa, Erik XIV

Excerpt

No other historical play of Strindberg's has been subjected to closer or more frequent scrutiny or criticism either by Swedish scholars or, for that matter, by Strindberg himself than Master Olof (1872), his first dramatic masterpiece. It broke with the traditions of the Swedish theater by presenting great Swedes of the past as flesh‐ and-blood individuals instead of creatures out of a museum, by giving the historical play a new form, and by presenting dialogue that was startlingly realistic. The rejection of the play by the theater in 1872 and the advice that Strindberg rewrite it—as he did, partly in verse—kept him concerned with it directly over an appreciable number of years. In the middle I88o's when Strindberg was writing his four-volume autobiography, Tjänstekvinnans son (The Son of a Servant, 1886), he devoted a substantial portion of one of the four volumes, I coda rummet (In the Red Room), to a retrospective discussion and analysis of Master Olof and of its initial and subsequent receptions.

Swedish scholars have paid Master Olof the tribute of examining it in the study from almost every conceivable point of view, attempting to determine what influence such writers as Shakespeare, Goethe, Schiller, Kierkegaard, Ibsen, and various lesser predecessors and contemporaries may have had on Master Olof; investigating the sources of the historical details; and examining both the form and . . .

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