"A good and true book is a letter"
Strindberg's letters are considered a genre of its own in his literary production, not only because of the sheers quantity. His correspondence amounts to some
To the naturalist of the 1880 letters were important documents revelaing the truth and Strindberg thought of the possibility to include the letters he had exchanged
with his wife in spe Siri von Essen and her husband Carl Gustaf Wrangel. in his authobiographical suite The Son of a Servant.
The vast number of letters is also a consequence of his many years abroad during the 1880s and 1890s. He had to keep in contact with his family,
his friends and his publishers. Only a few of his letters are devoted to a more detailed explanation of his works. Instead they reveal Strindberg staging his life according
to the game plan he has for his literary texts.
Except for his correspondance with Georg Brandes and a few letters to Zola and Nietzsche there are not many letters to major contemporaries in Europe. With the correspondences
with the Swedish writer Verner von Heidenstam as exception he was more at ease when writing to friends, like for example Leopold Littmansson.
Strindberg's style and language vary depending on the age, class and sex of the receiver and on the period in which the letters were written. In the 1880s the focus of his letters is on literature, theatre, politics
and psychology. In the 1890s the major concern is with natural science, alchemy and occultism. When he settles in Stockholm again in 1899 the letters become shorter
except for the sequence to his third wife Harriet Bosse.
The Swedish edition of his collected letters consists of 20 volumes. A selection of his letters is translated to English by Michael Robinson, Athlone Press, London 1992.