By August Strindberg, Published in 1889



Although best known as a playwright, the Swedish author August Strindberg (1849–1912) was a prolific writer of novels, short stories, poetry, and essays. The official edition of his collected works comes to more than seventy volumes. In 1888 Strindberg attended a series of lectures about the then little-known philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. He quickly became a devotee of Nietzsche and even started up a brief correspondence with the philosopher. After reading Beyond Good and Evil, The Twilight of the Gods, The Case of Wagner, and On the Genealogy of Morals, Strindberg began to write works that were directly influenced by Nietzschean philosophy as well as social Darwinist thought. One of the most explicit examples of this is the novella Tschandala of 1889.

The novella is set in Lund, Sweden in the 1690s, which was in a province that had only been recently captured from the Danes. The protagonist is one Master Andreas Törner, a professor at the University of Lund and an army veteran who had participated in the battle in which the Swedes wrested control of Lund from the Danes. Unlike the situation today, the victorious Swedes realize that multiculturalism does not work, and they use the educational system to enforce the societal norms, language, and ethos of the dominant culture. In scenes reminiscent of a typical Chicago or Detroit public school, Strindberg even describes Törner needing to employ his walking stick as a cudgel against his more recalcitrant students. After a long academic year, Törner is looking forward to taking his wife and children to his home province for the summer. Just as the school year is about to end, Törner receives orders from the Swedish court that he must remain in the area and ingratiate himself with the local population as a means to determine the degree to which the process of integration with Sweden is succeeding.

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