Friday, October 7, 2011

August Strindberg (B)

August Strindberg came to my attention a few years ago at an academic philosophy conference. I was giving a paper on Vaslav Nijinsky, the dancer, who suffered from schizophrenia, and who kept a diary during his initial onset. My own diary, Diary of a Schizophrenic, kept during the onset of my condition 12 years ago, has been published by Chipmunkapublishing in the UK, and was launched last year at the Melbourne Writers Festival. But at the paper, there was an academic there who asked if I had heard of August Strindberg. Strindberg had written a book called Inferno, based on a diary he kept. Strindberg was at this time a famous playwright, but turned from his literary pursuits to pursue chemistry. The book Inferno details a descent into what seems to be a psychotic way of thinking and behaving, and provides a great wealth of material for those wishing to study literary expressions of schizophrenia. There are some who argue that Strindberg accentuated his condition for literary reasons, but I intend to explore this issue, arguing that Strindberg was indeed a sufferer, though not as refractory as many who have been unfortunate enough to endure the strictures of this horrible condition.

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