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Inferno from an Occult Diary (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

August Strindberg , Torsten Eklund , M. Sandbach
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

25 Oct 2001 Penguin Classics
"Inferno" and "From an Occult Diary" are for the most part based on a diary that Strindberg kept between 1896 and 1908 - undoubtedly the most troubled period of his life.
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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (25 Oct 2001)
  • ISBN-10: 0140448845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140448849
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,624,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Damage Done... by Absinthe 29 Dec 2005
Strindberg is usually known for his plays, but these autobiographical novels are great. He documents a descent into madness and extreme supernaturalism in Inferno. As it says in the introduction it is likely that this was a psychosis caused by absinthe which contains a neurotoxin and was August's favorite tipple.
"From an Occult Diary" shows how nutty he was too, not religious stuff but a weird obsessive relationship with his wife which the book documents.
I found his distorted thinking made him seem lovable and all too human. It may depend on one's experiences and whether the religious stuff strikes a chord in the reader. Particularly Inferno is a clear depiction of madness which makes one wonder about how part of the mind can degenerate while another part is lucid enough to diarize and document all the disturbance. This may be a clear example of someone travelling through the narrow territory between Genius and Madness.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A diary account of a stylisted descent into madness 14 April 2000
By A Customer
These two biographical books account Stringberg's growing paranoia in the world around him, a paranoia leading him to picture that satanic forces are colluding to send him insane. The second book is not much more than an edited and improved version of the first one and in someways does lose some of the first books original impact. But both books carry a fascinating power about them which makes them interesting from a empathetic perspective. Although some may find that the absence of strong plot lines frustrating.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Troubled Genius 8 May 2000
By Bruce Kendall - Published on Amazon.com
Strindberg was one of the foremost playwrights of the 19th century, almost equal in stature to the other great Scandinavian, Ibsen. This work is a departure in that the author takes as his subject his own psyche. The schizophrenia and paranoia he suffers from comes at the reader in waves. We are drawn into the vortex of his twisted reasoning, his fears, his misanthropic vision. About the nearest parallel I can think of is the work of Antonin Artaud, who also is quite adept at describing his own psychoses. What seperates them, in my opinion, is that Strindberg is a much greater writer and can at times objectively look at his subject (himself), whereas Arataud tends towards the monomaniacal. I would recommend this work for anyone interested in modern playwrights or in the psychological underpinnings of the artistic temperament.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars strindberg goes insane 25 Mar 2000
By sven nyholm - Published on Amazon.com
In Inferno Strindberg writes about the mental problems that he suffered from during the 1890s in a such a convincing way that you almost begin to wonder whether he really was mad. At times you really believe that everyone was out to get him and maybe they were(he made himself very impopular in his native Sweden with some of his books). I guess this book gives you a good description of just how fine the line between genious and insanity is. If you like Térèse Raquin by Zola this one is for you!
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