This essay presents a new reading of Strindberg’s The Father in the light of developing lens technology during the late nineteenth century. By situating this play within the late-nineteenth-century material culture of microscopes and alongside Strindberg’s own writings about his encounters with microscopic experimentation, the essay exposes the play as darkly comedic, upending its traditional reading as a tragedy. Recasting the play in this light concomitantly allows for further awareness of its wholesale rejection of the notion that knowledge of objective truth is possible, with science or any other epistemological system. Contextualizing the scientific influences on Strindberg’s often very spiritual dramas, then, cyclically allows for even greater awareness of the contemporary scientific rhetoric—often vicious critiques of it—packaged into his dramatic cosmology, expanding the ways in which he must be understood as one of the first Modernist playwrights.


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pp. 25-52
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