Mankell Family History

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Mankells and August Strindberg (1812-1880)

Carl Abraham, Gustav, and CA’s son Julius were friends of playwright, novelist, and poet August Strindberg, considered one of Sweden’s greatest writers. Some of his best dramas include The Father, and Miss Julie. Strindberg (1849-1912) wrote about these Mankell men in at least one play and one novella. In 1900 Strindberg wrote one of his lesser known plays Midsommar (Mid-summer) where there is a conversation between two people who are hard of hearing. They are confused about Carl Abraham Mankell and Gustav Mankell, 2 organists at 2 different churches in Stockholm. Julius Mankell is also a topic of the discussion.

Mankell relative, Bo Lindbergh, told me that Gustav met Strindberg at Jakobskyrka in Stockholm, played the organ for him, and introduced Strindberg to the mystique of the musical fugues. In 1913 Strindberg published a short story Den Romantiske Klockaren På Rånö (The Romantic Organist of Rånö) where the main character, Alrik Lundstedt, goes to Stockholm to study music. He becomes.a professor and organist at St. Jakobskyrka and plays Bach fugues. Some characteristics of Lundstedt parallel those of Gustav.

Several published collections of Strindberg’s letters, written in Swedish, mention Carl Abraham, Gustav, and Julius Mankell.

Julius Mankell was the subject in Strindberg’s audacious poem "For the Freedom of Belief". In this poem Strindberg reacts to the criticism Julius received from historians because of his unsympathetic viewpoint of Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, who died during the Thirty Year’s War. Expressing sympathy of a fellow writer, “Strindberg devoted a section of the poem to Mankell’s martyrdom.”

I know a man who for a different belief
Had to yield his honor but retained his life
But the rabble will never give up
Until his life is torn to shreds.

Bibliography: Samlade Skrifter; Johannesson, p. 109-120, (August Strindbergs Brev, 1888, 1892, 1894, 1899; Carlson, p. 121-122.

Next page: Wilhelm Mankell

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Last updated: February 20, 2008