20th International Strindberg conference juin 2017 : STRINDBERG AND THE WESTERN CANON




Since 1973, the Strindberg Society has organised international Strindberg conferences. The twentieth conference will be held at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków from the 1st to 4th June 2017, and will be entitled STRINDBERG AND THE WESTERN CANON. During the whole of his writing career Strindberg was a restless canon-maker. In his capacity as writer, librarian, cultural scholar, polemicist and amateur researcher he constantly quoted sources, both historical and contemporary, including and excluding authors in his own work, and stretched and re-evaluated the boundaries of cultural values around the turn of the twentieth century. At the same time, he was a very active author in his own right, living in self-chosen exile but with an international intellectual background. All of this raises questions as to his relationship with the literary and cultural canon.


The dynamics between local and global culture define the whole of his oeuvre and makes him one of those European authors that allow themselves to be interpreted in the context of Weltliteratur. This theme opens up a number of questions, such as:

Strindberg and tradition. How did Strindberg construct his predecessors and to which traditions did he link himself? Did his choice of various literary genres and dramatic aesthetics mean traditionalism or renewal?

Strindberg and the European and American canons of Modernism. How does the interpretation of his works shift when looked at in a European or American context?

Strindberg within the multimedia canon. Strindberg was a constant point of reference for Ingmar Bergman, both in his work for theatre and his films. What does the intermedia dialogue between Bergman and Strindberg look like? What do other Strindberg adaptations for cinema and TV achieve? How does the term appropriation function in this context? How have his texts been transformed to become sound and image?

Strindberg and the canon of the theatre. How is a Strindbergian text altered in performative practice in theatre, ballet and opera? How do his dramas work from the point of view of film and theatre directors, scenographers, and actors? How can he be placed in trends in the history of the theatre in Europe and beyond?

Strindberg as local author. How did Strindberg, with his strong bonds with Sweden as nation – e.g. to the archipelago – relate to foreign cultural values? And how does contemporary society relate to Strindberg as one of the leading describers of Swedish life?

Multicultural Strindberg. Strindberg was at the same time a multilingual cosmopolitan, an emigrant, theosophist, and reporter. In his capacity as a writer with his gaze trained upon both east and west, Strindberg obtains impressions from the universalist tendencies of the fin de siècle. His ambition to become a French author was followed up by studies in Hebrew, the Chinese system of logograms, Russian literature, and the history of the Middle East. How can you read Strindberg today taking as a starting point the global, postcolonial, and identitypolitical literary theories of our age?

The conference is being planned by the Strindberg Society and the Department of Germanic Languages at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. The conference is receiving support from the Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities and the Swedish Embassy in Warsaw.

The planning committee consists of Katarina Ek-Nilsson, Gunnel Engwall, Lina Gatte and David Gedin. The conference is being organised by Jan Balbierz from the Section for Swedish Language and Literature at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, along with Ph.D. students Jolanta Kucharska and Justyna Magiera.

The languages of the conference will be English and Swedish. Proposals for contributions (maximum 2,000 characters including spaces) should be sent to:
Closing date for proposals: 31st January 2017
The contributors will themselves be responsible for travel and accommodation costs.
Information about accommodation alternatives will be distributed in March 2017.
Illustration: Athanasius Kircher, China illustrata (1667). The book was bought by Strindberg in the early twentieth century and is to be found in his library.

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