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Writing Daughters: August Strindberg's Other Voices | Buy Now

Eszter Szalczer

ISBN-13: 9781870041706

254 pages     RRP £14.95    paperback    2008    Series A No. 30

In this book Eszter Szalczer looks at a previously neglected aspect of August Strindberg’s life and work: his daughters, both fictional and real, and their relationship to writing - both their father’s and their own. In Strindberg’s work, father- and daughter-figures often appear intertwined, and the daughters are often seen to be acting roles in their father’s narratives. This study explores these roles in detail, and offers parallel readings of the father’s stories and those of the daughters in order to create a dialogue between different perspectives. Such readings challenge the conventional authorial voice which singularly ‘fathers’ the text, and posits writing as a process that extends beyond the limits of the individual literary work. Writing turns into an ongoing dialogue as long as daughters keep being written, and daughters continue to write.

Part I of Writing Daughters, ‘Voicing Strategies’, explores Strindberg’s writing techniques and their production of authorial roles bound up with modernist notions of femininity. Part II, ‘Writing Daughters’, turns to Strindberg’s actual daughters, and how they entered representation via their own dialogue with their father’s writing, either contesting or confirming their own fictionalisation. The two parts are related in a way that represents how Strindberg’s practice of performative writing (Part I) brings forth new conceptions of authorship (Part II), and follows the transformation of the author into actor, and then that of the daughters from characters into authors in the process of writing. In addition, Part II also makes audible the dialogue that has never been heard before.

Eszter Szalczer is Associate Professor of Theatre at the University at Albany, State University of New York.

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