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August Strindberg och Laokoongruppen
2015 (Swedish)In: Samlaren: tidskrift för svensk litteraturvetenskaplig forskning, ISSN 0348-6133, Vol. 136, 178-202 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

August Strindberg and The Laocoon Group (August Strindberg och Laokoongruppen)

For centuries the Hellenistic Laocoon Group, discovered in 1506, was regarded as one of the most prominent sculptures in art history. Copies in bronze and plaster were spread widely. The group inspired artists and authors in many countries, also in Sweden, and it came sharply into focus in Winckelmann’s and Lessing’s famous discussion on aesthetics. However, late in the 19th century the Laocoon Group was re-evaluated, and its reputation declined rapidly. Between 1884 and 1905 the Laocoon Group appeared in several of August Strindberg’s texts. Strindberg shared the new critical view on the group. For that very reason he found the sculp­ture and its plaster copies very useful when in the 1880s in some poetic and narrative texts he polemically focused on the concepts beauty and truth. In his poem "Laokoon" (1891) which presents an existential interpretation of the Laocoon Group, Strindberg proposes a new answer to the famous question why Laocoon does not scream. In Laocoon’s face he discerns a scream that has disappeared and turned into a humble appeal for mercy for the two sons. In Strind­berg’s drama Näktergalen i Wittenberg (The Nightingale of Wittenberg, 1903) the Laocoon Group structures the whole play. The leading character, Martin Luther, is directly and indi­rectly connected to the Laocoon figure. The Laocoon Group is shown on stage and functions as a scenographic Leitmotif for Luther.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Svenska litteratursällskapet , 2015. Vol. 136, 178-202 p.
Keyword [en]
Laocoon, Strindberg, Lessing, plaster, beauty, truth
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-280424OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-280424DiVA: diva2:910732
Available from: 2016-03-10 Created: 2016-03-10

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Samlaren: tidskrift för svensk litteraturvetenskaplig forskning
General Literature Studies

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