While best known for his socially critical stories and plays, August Strindberg also had a keen sense of history. For my money, this set of seemingly minor but chilly vignettes from the Thirty Years War (drawn from his Historical Miniatures) reveals more about the casual horror and fundamental stupidity of war than many a thousand-page tome. What’s more, a positive reference to the later German Empire bestows a note of finality to what we have long understood as a work in progress. So much for latter-day notions of an “end to history.” Yes, history: It’s just one damn thing after another, then as now.
A note of caution: This story doesn’t contain vampires or zombies – which would make it all too contemporary – but it does involve cannibals, and I mean real cannibals. In other words, real people who eat real people. So listener discretion is advised.
The White Mountain, by August Strindberg [15:09]