Att se stjärnor på ljusa dagen. Förvandling och försoning i August Strindbergs En blå bok

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


Regnell, Astrid: Att se stjärnor på ljusa dagen. Förvandling och försoning
i August Strindbergs En blå bok.
Seeing stars in broad daylight. Transformation and Reconciliation in August Strindberg’s
Zones of the Spirit.
In this thesis a pattern of coherence is explored in August Strindberg’s Zones of the Spirit
(En blå bok) – a literary work consisting of a collection of short and quite diverse essays. It is
argued that Strindberg’s pattern of thought has its base in a concept of transformation that
characterizes his descriptions of nature and human life.
In the introduction, the transformationprocess is tied to the concept of transmutation in
alchemy, i.e. how matter is transmuted through different stages of purification into perfect
gold. Connections are also made to the Christian notion of conversion, made manifest in
the description of the stages of the meditation process. Finally the hypothesis is put forward
that Strindberg writes in a cryptic manner when using alchemical symbolism. In the
first two chapters the already known facts about Strindberg’s alchemical experience and
his acquaintances with devotional literature are summed up. From chapter three on follows
the analysis of Strindberg’s essays classified under the subtitles “The Transformations
of Nature”, “The Phenomena of Heaven” and “The Transformations of Man”. In the last
chapter, “The Transformation of Poetry”, the fluid border between fiction and reality in
Strindberg’s essays is explored.
A comparative methodology is adopted in order to demonstrate the role of transformation,
i.e. the texts in Zones of the Spirit are compared to alchemical ideas and to thoughts on
conversion, found in literature on meditation. The study shows the role of the alchemical
patterns of thought in Strindberg’s comprehension of different phenomena. For instance,
applying the theme of transformation to Zones of Spirit lends explanation to Strindberg’s
thoughts about reconciliation, but also to his thoughts about the process between life and
death and whether there will be life after physical death.
Keywords: August Strindberg, Zones of the Spirit, En blå bok, devotional literature, literature
of meditation, transformation, transmutation, alchemy, conversion, synthesis, Johann
Arndt, Swedenborg, Goethe, Platon
Copyright © Astrid Regnell och ellerströms förlag 2009
isbn 978–91–7247–204–4
Distributor: ellerströms, Fredsgatan 6, SE–222 20 Lund, Sweden
Phone: +46 32 32 95,


  • Astrid Regnell
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature


  • Platon, alchemy, conversion, synthesis, Johann Arndt, August Strindberg, devotional literature, Zones of the Spirit, Goethe, literature of meditation, En blå bok, transmutation, transformation, Swedenborg
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2009 Feb 28
  • Ellerströms förlag
Print ISBNs978-91-7247-204-4
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2009-02-28 Time: 10:15 Place: Hörsalen, Språk- och litteraturcentrum, Helgonabacken 12, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Nielsen, Erik A Title: professor Affiliation: Institutet för nordisk filologi och språkforskning, Köpenhamns universitet ---