Strindberg: A Life by Sue Prideaux - review by Irving Wardle

Irving Wardle

Mr Julie

Strindberg: A Life


Yale University Press 371pp £25

He liked to work to the sound of children playing. He could make flowers grow where none had grown before. His pupils remembered him as the kindest and best teacher they ever had. He was a champion of sexual equality and set out to write plays strictly to advance his wife’s acting career. He was preternaturally nervous of public speaking, and generally struck people as shy, prudish, and rational. 

These are not characteristics that first spring to mind at the name of August Strindberg, Sweden’s number one misogynist, paranoiac, and all-round nutcase, but they are essential elements of the portrait that emerges from Sue Prideaux’s deeply researched and engrossing biography. They are not the whole story, however. Dote on

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