Plays From the Cynical LifeBook - 1983
The plays in this volume are one-act dramas based on human situations as conceived and interpreted by Strindberg at a time when he was convinced human beings are essentially selfish, self-centered creatures. All of them have been presented successfully in Swedish and other Scandinavian theaters.
The situations are surely typical: people's willingness to claim credit for a fellow human being's success, a mother's manipulation of her daughter's life, a wife's inddiference to her mate except when others obviously wan him, denigration of a mate for one's own purposes, indifference to rationalization of one's sins, playing with one's own and others' emotions, and the unhesitant destruction of a fellow human being, at least partly in the name of religion. Written toward the end of his pre-Inferno period, Strindberg labelled these plays "one-acters out of cynical life." ["En aktare. Ur det chniska livet"]. Translations of two other plays--The Stronger and The Bond--which belong to this group were included in Pre-Inferno Plays (University of Washington Press, 1970).
In translating these plays, Walter Johnson has presented American versions, faithful to the original and expressed in languages as idiomatic and natural as the original Swedish.