I have said that the child is a little criminal, incapable of self-guidance, but I love children all the same. I have said that woman is—what she is, but I have always loved some woman, and been a father. Whoever, therefore, calls me a woman-hater is a blockhead, a liar, or a noodle. Or all three together.
Sex, of course, was the greatest cross Strindberg had to bear. But there were hundreds of other little changing crosses, from persecution mania to poverty, which supplanted each other from day to day on his back. He suffered continually both from the way he was made and from the way the world was made. His novels and plays are a literature of suffering. He reveals himself there as a man pursued by furies, a man without rest. He flies to a thousand distractions and hiding-places—drink and lust and piano-playing, Chinese and chemistry, painting and acting, alchemy and poison, and religion. Some of these, no doubt, he honestly turns to for a living. But in his rush from one thing to another he shows the restlessness of a man goaded to madness. Not that his life is to be regarded as entirely miserable. He obviously gets a good deal of pleasure even out of his acutest pain. “I find the joy of life in its violent and cruel struggles,” he tells us in the preface to Miss Julia, “and my pleasure lies in knowing something and learning something.” He is always consumed with the greed of knowledge—a phase of his greed of domination. It is this that enables him to turn his inferno into a purgatory.