Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Strindberg’s Historical Dramas

I’ve been reading lately August Strindeberg’s historical dramas, a cycle of plays concerning the history of Sweden from the twelfth to nineteenth centuries. The plays, written between 1872 and 1908, are not well known outside of Sweden. This is unfortunate, as they are very well written. Like the historical dramas of Shakespeare, each play can be appreciated (read or performed) as a self-contained unit. The translations by Walter Johnson are very readable. Reading the plays not in the order written but according to historical time gives a sense of the sweep of Swedish history from the late 1200’s through 1789, with its national, personal and religious conflicts.

1) Earl Birger of Bjalbo (late 1200’s)
2) The Saga of the Folkungs (middle 1300’s)
3) Engelbrekt (1430’s)
4) The Last of the Knights (1512-20)
5) The Regent (early 1520’s)
6) Master Olof (1520’s-40’s)
7) Gustav Vasa (1540’s)
8) Erik XIV (1560’s)
9) Gustav Adolf (1630-32)
10) Queen Christina (1654)
11) Charles XII (1715-18)
12) Gustav III (1789)

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