“Adaptation or Parody? Strindberg’s and Wagner’s Idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk” lecture by Karin Hoff
"All tone-deaf people are Wagner fans,“ August Strindberg asserts more than once in mockery of the European Wagner craze at the end of the 19th century. Strindberg‘s truculent polemic one the one hand is balanced on the other by his profound interest in Wagner’s aesthetic program. Numerous passages in his correspondence, plays, and novels underscore not only Strindberg’s intention to torpedo the Wagner fashion, but also his readiness to analyze it. This is especially noticeable in his chamber plays, written between 1907 and 1909 for his own theater „Intima Teatern“ in Stockholm, in particular Chamber Play opus 3,Spöksonaten (The Ghost Sonata), and in his theoretical writings on theater and drama. Using the example of Spöksonaten, this presentation will investigate Strindberg’s polemical yet productive engagement with Wagner‘s Ring des Nibelungen and his idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk.
Karin HOFF has held a Professorship in Scandinavian Studies at Göttingen University since 2007. Her research includes Scandinavian literatures from the 18th through the 20thcenturies, German-Scandinavian cultural transfer, literary networks and transnationalism; drama and theater; and literature for children and young adults. A previous monograph explored literary projects in the interstices between the German and Scandinavian cultures in the late Enlightenment. Her presentation is part of a larger project on “Strindberg’s Modernism between Sweden and Germany”