The Defence of a Fool
First French edition title page
|Original title||Le Plaidoyer d'un Fou|
Published in English
The Defence of a Fool (French: Le Plaidoyer d'un fou) is an autobiographical novel by the Swedish writer August Strindberg. The narrative is based on Strindberg's marriage to Siri von Essen. The book was written in French and first published in a German translation in 1893. It has also been published in English as The Confession of a Fool, A Madman's Defence, A Fool's Apology and A Madman's Manifesto.
As his stormy marriage to Siri von Essen was coming to an end, August Strindberg feared there was a secret conspiracy between the women of Europe, and they were planning to silence him by conducting a campaign to make people believe he was insane. Strindberg therefore decided to hurridly write a book revealing the truths about the marriage. He began to write The Defence of a Fool in the autumn 1887 and it was finished the following spring. It was written in French.
The book was first published in 1893 through G. Müller Verlag, in a German translation by Emil Schering, with the title Die Beichte eines Toren. The original French version was published by Albert Langen in 1895. The first English translation was called The Confession of a Fool and published in 1912 (Tr. ELLIE SCHLEUSSNER d.1944); in his book The Novels of August Strindberg, Strindberg researcher Eric O. Johannesson describes it as "a poor translation from Schering's German version which gives a totally misleading impression of the nature of the book". The first Swedish edition was published in 1914, after Strindberg's death, as En dåres försvarstal.
- The Defence of a Fool in Swedish and French at Litteraturbanken
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