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Fired by a constant tension between the complementary extremes of optimism and pessimism, Buchner's writing was far ahead of its time and is as relevant now as the day it was written. Heinrich Boll has spoken of Buchner's "remarkable relevance", Gunter Grass of his "incendiary" force; no other German writer before Brecht has caught so intensely the modern imagination in writing that is iconoclastic, exhilarating and challenging as much in its form and aesthetic as in its ideas. John Reddick has made new translations for this edition which contains Buchner's complete plays - Danton's Death, Leonce and Lena and Woyzeck - and his one novella, Lenz, together with The Hessian Messenger and selections from his philosophical-scientific writings and his letters.
Collected in this volume are powerful dramas and psychological fiction by the nineteenth-century iconoclast now recognized as a major figure of world literature. Also included are selections from Büchner's letters and philosophical writings.
When he died in 1837, just as Woyzeck (later turned into an opera by modernist Allan Berg) was nearing completion, Georg Büchner was not yet twenty-four years old. It would be almost 60 years before the first of Büchner's plays Leonce and Lena was performed before a German audience--and almost 100 years before his plays were translated into English. His plays have have grown more important and more relevant with the passage of time. Today, he is considered a forerunner of both naturalism and expressionism.