Miss Julie by August Strindberg
Miss Julie (1888), written in a fortnight, was regarded by Strindberg as his masterpiece, 'the first naturalistic tragedy of the Swedish drama'. Shocking in subject-matter, revolutionary in technique, it was fiercely attacked on publication for immorality. On Midsummer Eve, Miss Julie, the daughter of a count, sleeps with her father's valet, Jean. The subsequent conflict between sexual passion and social position, which leads to her suicide, is presented with startling modernity. The play's premiere at Strindberg's experimental theatre in Denmark in 1889 was banned by the censor and its first public production three years later in Berlin aroused such protests that it was withdrawn after one performance. Miss Julie has since become one of Strindberg's most popular and frequently performed plays. Commentary and notes by David Thomas and Jo Taylor.