IMG_20150701_190620Polymath playwright, novelist, and painter August Strindberg is the one Swedish author that everyone knows (until Stieg Larsson, perhaps), and so he naturally enough is commemorated by the Strindberg Museum, housed in the so-called Blue Tower at the top of Drottninggatan, Stockholm’s Piccadilly, where he spent the last years of his life until his death in 1912. The Museum includes Strindberg’s fourth-floor apartment, reconstructed with its original furnishings, as well as his private library on the sixth floor. And the Blue Tower itself, though only blue in its interior plasterwork, is a beautiful period building worth seeing for its own sake.


There is a permanent exhibition on Strindberg’s life and work, as well as a space for temporary themed displays, though alas, no big archive of his avant-garde oil paintings. The pride of the museum, though, is the original apartment, including his bedroom, the dining room where he ate the meals and brewed the coffee he ordered in, the study where he wrote the last works of his life, and even his early telephone. Strindberg was apparently an obsessive perfectionist when it came to the arrangement of his workdesk, and the display certainly looks the part. Aside from the occasionally florid decorations in the dining room, chosen to appeal to his tastes for the dramatic, it’s a dwelling for one man, dedicated to one purpose.


The custodians let us in specially to see Strindberg’s 3000-volume personal library. The display includes his own reading desk (see below), with all the implements for a dedicated reader of the early 1900s – paper knives, magnifying glass, pen for making notes and annotations, etc.


This was very much a practical working library rather than a bibliophile and collector’s treasure house, with non-fiction works on all the subjects that engaged Strindberg’s magpie intellect – chemistry, philosophy, religion, etc. Before the internet, this is how a catholic and endlessly curious creative intellect nourished itself.



The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail