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Jean-Pierre Sarrazac Keynote Abstract

by on February 20, 2012

Strindberg’s drama of self

Autobiography occupies a central and singular position in Strindberg’s drama, as both the bedrock and the palimpsest of his plays. Writing about himself (in his diaries, his letters, his autobiography), Strindberg constructs a personal myth of selfhood that informs, and nourishes, his plays. In this dynamic, drama emerges as a second order of writing, a rewriting. However, the specificity of the autobiographical play, in strong contradistinction to the more familiar autobiographical novel, lies in its elevation of an entirely personal myth to the level of the impersonal, or the transpersonal. The character, in this transposition, acquires a series of masks and performs all of the roles of both Man and the man. He is doubled, and distanced from himself; he becomes a witness both to his own self and to humanity writ large. Strictly speaking, there is no autobiographical theatre. By way of conclusion, the drama of self, explored in relation to Strindberg, will be considered in terms of more recent authors, not unrelated to the great Swedish playwright, such as Marguerite Duras and Jean-Luc Lagarce.

Jean-Pierre Sarrazac is a professor of dramaturgy at Université de Paris 3-Sorbonne Nouvelle and Université Louvain-la-Neuve. In 2008, the International Association of Theatre Critics awarded him the Prix Thalie for his collected plays.

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