The Growth of a Soul is a book by August Strindberg. The Growth of a Soul is a book by August Strindberg. Strindberg was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. Excerpt: "John's father now saw that he had educated a good-for-nothing for society who could not dig, but perhaps was not ashamed to beg. The world stood open for the youth to starve or to perish in. His father did not like his idea of becoming an elementary school-teacher. Was that to be the only result of so much work? His ambitious dreams received a shock from the idea of such a come-down."