miss julie and its preface

Powerful Essays
Topics:
Stephen Conway
May 2, 1996

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

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, there is still an ongoing, lively, and deeply divided debate. This is not to suggest that these modern critical concerns have forged superior or even different links with the past or to this piece of literature. On the contrary, I would submit that Strindberg himself, as a literary critic of his own work, established (consciously or unconsciously) the fundamental guidelines and ground rules for the interpretive controversies that have followed. By creating a dynamic tension between his theoretical, essentially pragmatic intentions in his “Preface to Miss Julie” and his creative achievements in “ Miss Julie” itself, Strindberg’s explicit dialogue opens interpretive space and invites other critics to fill this space with their various, even openly hostile, voices. As critic and creator,



Cited: Henderson Archibald. European Dramatists. Cincinnati: Stewart and Kidd Co., 1913. Heller, Otto. Prophets of Dissent. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1918. Sprinchorn, Evert. Strindberg as Dramatist. New Haven: Yale UP, 1982. Strindberg, August. "Preface to Miss Julie". Michael Meyer trans., 1888 Meyer trans. Reading, UK: Cox and Wyman Ltd., 1993. ---. "Miss Julie". Michael Meyer trans., 1888. Rpt. in Strindberg Plays: One UK: Cox and Wyman Ltd., 1993. Williams, Raymond. Drama: From Ibsen to Brecht. New York: Oxford UP, 1968.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Miss Julie

    • 678 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Intro to Theater 10/30/10 Script Essay on Miss Julie Miss Julie is a well written play by August Strindberg. This play is mainly about two characters one who is obviously Miss Julie and the other Jean. Miss Julie is a twenty-five-year-old tragic heroine. The other major character Jean is a thirty-year old valet who is chosen as Miss Julie’s lover. There are other characters such as Christine and Serena who are relatively minor characters. The setting for this play takes place in a kitchen of the…

    • 678 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Miss Julie

    • 765 Words
    • 4 Pages

    father of naturalism. Throughout Miss Julie Strindberg uses animal imagery to explain the behavior throughout the play. In the play, Miss Julie is obsessed with the animals. The animals are used to symbolize her behavior. Jean the manor’s thirty year old valet describes Miss Julie as wild and crazy. At this point he is talking to Kristen, his fiance and the manor’s cook. In the play dog imagery is used a lot . For example when Jean was explaining to Kristin how Miss Julie acted towards her fiance right…

    • 765 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Miss Julie

    • 843 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Miss Julie In Miss Julie, by August Strindberg wrote about the naturalistic view of human behavior. He symbolizes the behavior through animal imagery. The animal image Strindberg uses helps him exemplify his naturalistic view. The first animal imagery Strindberg uses is the dog. Jean uses the dog imagery to describe to Kristen how Miss Julie made her ex-fiancé act before the break-up. " Why, she was making him jump over her riding whip the way you teach a dog to jump." A dog is…

    • 843 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Miss Julie

    • 522 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Importance of Social Status in Strindberg’s Miss Julie August Strindberg’s Miss Julie underlines the essence of the social status conflict, where both aristocrat, Miss Julie, and servant, Jean, are unsatisfied with their current positions of class. Strindberg emphasized the importance of gender roles of men and women, while challenging the audience by breaking these social barriers set by society, only to demonstrate there is no eluding “class destiny”. These beliefs were portrayed effectively…

    • 522 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Miss Julie

    • 1181 Words
    • 5 Pages

    beings. In other words, like lower animals, humans respond mainly to inborn instincts that influence behavior in concert with—and sometimes in opposition to—environmental influences, including economic, social, cultural, and familial influences. Miss Julie, for example, responds partly to her inborn female instinct for male companionship and partly to her environmentally induced hatred of men. Consequently, she both desires and despises Jean, causing her deep internal conflict. (2) Human beings…

    • 1181 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Miss Julie Setting

    • 279 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Strindberg’s “Miss Julie”. The introduction of Social Darwinism in 1800s was an essential to the naturalist genre within the play, and can be seen to have had an immense influence on “Miss Julie”. The simultaneous fall of Miss Julie and rise of Jean is evidently as a consequence of the theory of “survival of the fittest”, which was gaining popularity around the time Miss Julie was written. Jean’s competence, ambitious nature and better adaptability to the social structure of society, and Miss Julie’s dilemma…

    • 279 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Miss Julie on Naturalism

    • 655 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Miss Julie Essay Johan August Strindberg, was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg 's career spanned four decades, during which time he wrote over 60 plays and more than 30 works of fiction, autobiographies, history, cultural analysis, and politics. August Strindberg wrote the play, Miss Julie, in 1888. Miss Julie is a play about the reversal of roles within the every day life of an upper…

    • 655 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Miss Julie Education

    • 7448 Words
    • 30 Pages

    UK Touring Theatre presents Miss Julie by August Strindberg in a new translation for the 21st century EDUCATION PACK Spring Tour 2013 Introduction UK Touring Theatre presents Miss Julie by August Strindberg in a new translation for the 21st century Tours nationally from 16th April to 18th May 2013 Directed by Denis Noonan Production Design by Mike Lees Lighting Design by Crin Claxton “Donʼt step down Miss, take my advice. No one will believe that you willingly descended, people…

    • 7448 Words
    • 30 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Naturalism in Miss Julie

    • 532 Words
    • 3 Pages

    beings. In other words, like lower animals, humans respond mainly to inborn instincts that influence behavior in concert with—and sometimes in opposition to—environmental influences, including economic, social, cultural, and familial influences. Miss Julie, for example, responds partly to her inborn female instinct for male companionship and partly to her environmentally induced hatred of men. Consequently, she both desires and despises Jean, causing her deep internal conflict. (2) Human beings have…

    • 532 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Miss Julie Analysis

    • 715 Words
    • 3 Pages

    On May 11th 2017 I went to see Miss Julie performed at Shaking The Tree Theater in in Southeast Portland. Miss Julie is a drama adapted by Craig Lucas and directed by Samantha Van Der Merwe, who also was the scenic designer. The show revolved around a cast of three, the character Miss Julie was performed by Beth Thompson, her lustful lover Jean who was played by Matthew Kerrigan and his fiance Kristine who was performed by Kelly Godell. In this analysis I will be discussing the performance of the…

    • 715 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays