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Commitment and Compassion

Essays on Georg Büchner. Festschrift for Gerhard P. Knapp

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Edited by Patrick Fortmann and Martha B. Helfer

The writer, scientist, philosopher, and radical democrat Georg Büchner (1813-1837) occupies a unique place in the cultural legacy of the German-speaking countries. Born into an epoch of inevitable, yet arrested historical transition, Büchner produced a small but exceptionally rich body of work. This collection of essays in English and in German considers the full spectrum of his writings, the political pamphlet Der Hessische Landbote, the dramas Danton’s Tod, Leonce und Lena, Woyzeck, and the fragmentary narrative Lenz, as well as the letters, the philosophical lectures on Descartes and Spinoza, and the scientific texts. The essays examine connections between these works, study texts in detail, debate ways of editing them, and trace their reception in contemporary literature and film. The novel readings presented here not only celebrate Büchner on the eve of his bicentenary birthday but also insert this untimely figure into discussions of the revolution-restoration dynamic and realism in poetics and politics.