Small Catechism for the Underclass

Translated by Jeff Kinkle & Janina Pedan

August Strindberg

My view now is — everything is shit! Hopeless! The skein is too tangled to be unravelled. It can only be sheared. The edifice is too solid to be pulled down; it must be blown up. And it shall be!
— August Strindberg, Letter to Jonas Lie , Christmas Eve, 1884

Andperseand is proud to announce the publication of August Strindberg’s Small Catechism for the Underclass, a venomous political tract from Sweden’s ‘national author’ directed against his country’s entire establishment.

Strindberg self-identified as ‘the son of a servant’ and his sense of enmity with the Swedish overclass is palpable throughout his oeuvre. In Small Catechism for the Underclass, Strindberg directs his ire at the overclass and the tools and techniques they’ve developed to exploit and repress the underclass, including morality, law, religion, and culture.

The book is exemplary as a vitriolic and iconoclastic attack on everything existing by the ‘father’ of Swedish literature. As inequality has emerged once again as a central political issue, Strindberg’s screed is remarkably relevant for the present, precisely one hundred years after its author’s death.

Small Catechism for the Underclass was written sometime during 1884 and 1885. The text would go unpublished in Strindberg’s lifetime, not appearing until 1913 when his 55-volume complete works were published in Sweden by Bonniers. This is the text’s first publication in English (as far as we can tell) and has been translated by Jeff Kinkle and Janina Pedan. The first small print edition is sold out, but it is currently available as an eBook with a second print edition to be released in the near future.

ContributorsAugust Strindberg, Jeff Kinkle, Janina Pedan
Filed under Art, Poetry, Theory
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