1 Scandinavian Institute, Faculty of Humanities, Aarhus University, Aarhus University
In this article I focus on the Other's important role for the identity of the self in the writings of August Strindberg. I argue that the instability and dynamism that characterize the self and writing in Strindberg are due to a dialectic between the self's romantic demond for absolute freedom and his need for the recognition of others. Because of the demand for absolute freedom the self suffers from an anxiety of influence which constantly leads to interpersonal or metaphysical identity struggles and to a monologic approach toward the Other. This anxiety, however, is exactly a sign of lacking autonomy - of a dialogical self. Because of the hero's dialogic consciousness the discourse and dialogue are on a closer inspection filled with dialogically sideward glances and polemical strokes at the Other. I argue that it is the self's dialogical consciousness that prevent many of Strindberg's texts from ending in ideological and rhetorical monologism. In his fictional texts Strindberg like Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky experiences with an idelogical point of view by incarnating them in a living - i.e. situated - human voice. The situationism and the complexity and ambiguity of his main characters - which he, in an indirect polemic against Zola, programmatically defends in the foreword to Miss Julie - breaks down the apparent monologic determinism (whether naturalistic, ideological or metaphysical) and enforces a dialogical freedom, where the characters are nothing but what they make of others and others make of them.