The 21st International Strindberg Conference in Göttingen is devoted to the ambivalent relationship with the Enlightenment in August Strindberg's writings. The subject of the conference deliberately refers to the location Göttingen with its central role in the European Enlightenment. With its close connections with France and Britain, the town attracted numerous scientists and intellectuals. The university and its library became an important hub of Enlightenment literature and research. Experimentation, critique, basic research and the aesthetics of Enlightenment left their mark on the scientific and literary discourse to the same degree. Yet Göttingen was not only a centre of the Enlightenment but also of its critique. Likewise, the early Romantic movements (Caroline Schlegel-Schelling, Georg Forster, Therese Heyne) were formed here as a reaction and as a consequence of Enlightenment. Thus the European Enlightenment and critique of Enlightenment found expression here at the same time, were discussed and continued. Research into the Enlightenment plays an important role at the university to this very day.
Strindberg‘s attitude to Enlightenment was known to be ambivalent and underwent numerous re-evaluations over time. On the one hand he saw himself allied to Rousseau, whose critique of civilization inspired him significantly. On the other hand Strindberg took up Voltaire‘s considerations early on and, for example, prefixed Röda rummet (The Red Room) with a quotation from Voltaire as a motto. At the same time Strindberg again distanced himself from the idea of a rationally explicable system of order based on reason. In its place came increasingly metaphysical experiments and considerations.
All of these aspects are to be discussed at the 21st Strindberg Conference, placing them in the greater context of the reception of the Enlightenment: Strindberg‘s analysis of the Enlightenment, his critique of it as well as his special relationship with German culture and Enlightenment tradition. That affects, among other things, the modern concept of subject in succession to Kant, the disintegration of the subject in the drama of the modern age as well as the considerations and concepts critical of contemporary culture. A detailed discussion of these questions in the context of Enlightenment tradition has to date been undertaken on only a basic level. The conference starts here.
Coming from the tradition of Enlightenment on the one hand and Strindberg’s ambivalent attitude to reason and the critique of reason on the other, the following questions, among others, will be at the forefront of the discussion:
Strindberg and the ambivalence/dialectic of Enlightenment
the modern concept of subject in Strindberg's dramatic writings
Strindberg's critique of the Enlightenment
Voltaire, Rousseau, Kant: Strindberg and the philosophical traditions of the Enlightenment Enlightenment and/or early Romanticism in Strindberg's aesthetic writings
Strindberg as "experimental universal experimenter" in the tradition of Lichtenberg and Swedenborg.
The conference aims not only to gain new insights into Strindberg's analysis of the philosophy and literature of Enlightenment but also to place the understanding of Enlightenment in a new perspective in the context of the aesthetic modern age. The conference is being organized by the Department of Scandinavian Studies of the University of Göttingen in cooperation with the Strindberg Society (Dr David Gedin, Stockholm).
For further details see Strindberg Conference website www.strindberg2019.com.
Please note that participants are kindly requested to make hotel bookings as soon as possible.
We kindly ask you to submit your paper/contribution to the Conference (in Swedish, English or German) by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.