Miss Julie

Definition

Theater

  • A one-act play by August Strindberg, first performedin 1889 in Copenhagen and described by the author as "the Swedishdrama's first naturalistic tragedy." Strindberg's lengthy prefaceis one of the most important statements of 19th-century naturalism.

    The plot, about a fatal sexual liaison within a decaying aristocratichousehold, gives Strindberg (a noted misogynist) ample scope to deplorefemale sexuality in particular and human nature in general. The playwas written during the collapse of his first marriage. Miss Julieis the daughter of a Swedish count and his working-class feministwife. The tension between her parents has made the sensual girl waryof love, but this changes when she celebrates Midsummer Night withthe family servants and is seduced by an ambitious footman, Jean.When Julie makes it clear that she regrets the incident, Jean reactswith deliberate cruelty, driving her to suicide.

    After Miss Julie, a reworking of the story by PatrickMarber in which the action is updated to England in 1945, was presented atthe Donmar Warehouse in 2003.

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