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Miss Julie and Its Preface: The Foundation of a Critical Conflict

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    From its first publication and performance, August Strindberg's play "Miss Julie" has been the source of critical controversy and debate. Written in the span of little more than one month in the summer of 1888, the play was banned or censored throughout Europe in the late Nineteenth Century. Because it dealt with situations and attitudes deemed morally or socially offensive (the daughter of an aristocrat seduces her father's valet, and he, in turn, coerces her to commit suicide) the initial negative reaction to the play was rooted in generalized, fanatical, self righteous outrage and did not seek to deal with or engage the text in any specific manner. Instead, "Miss Julie" was a convenient target, symptomatic of all that was corrupting and dangerous in an increasingly progressive world. By the early Twentieth Century, however, more focused moral and artistic critiques were leveled at Strindberg's self proclaimed naturalistic tragedy, a discussion that continues to thrive even today. Though some of the moral and social issues may have lost their radical edge in later decades, t...


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...s Dramatist. New Haven: Yale UP, 1982.

Strindberg, August. "Preface to Miss Julie". Michael Meyer trans., 1888. Rpt. in Strindberg Plays: One. Michael Meyer trans.

Reading, UK: Cox and Wyman Ltd., 1993.

---. "Miss Julie". Michael Meyer trans., 1888. Rpt. in Strindberg Plays: One. Michael Meyer trans. Reading, UK: Cox and Wyman Ltd., 1993.

Tornqvist, Egil and Jacobs, Barry. Strindberg's Miss Julie: A Play and Its Transpositions. Norwich: Norvik, 1988.

Williams, Raymond. Drama: From Ibsen to Brecht. New York: Oxford UP, 1968.

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