Lenz by Georg Buchner & Richard Sieburth

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Synopsis

Lenz, Georg Büchner’s visionary exploration of an 18th-century playwright’s descent into madness, has been called the inception of European modernist prose. Elias Canetti considered this short novella one of the decisive reading experiences of his life, and writers as various as Paul Celan, Christa Wolff, Peter Schneider, and Gert Hofmann have paid homage to it in their works. Published posthumously in 1839, Lenz provides a taut case study of three weeks in the life of schizophrenic, perhaps the first third-person text ever to be written from the "inside" of insanity. An early experiment in docufiction, Büchner’s textual montage draws on the diary of J.F. Oberlin, the Alsatian pastor who briefly took care of Lenz in 1778, while also refracting Goethe’s memoir of his troubled friendship with the playwright — English versions of both of these historical source texts here accompany Lenz for the first time in this bilingual presentation. Based on the best recent edition of the text, this fresh translation will allow readers to discover why Heiner Müller pronounced Lenz the inaugural example of "21st-century prose."
 

About Georg Buchner & Richard Sieburth

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Georg Buchner (1813-1837) was born in Germany. His plays (Leonce and Lena, Woyzeck, Danton's Death) were ahead of their time both psychologically and politically, influencing contemporary playwrights as different as Ionesco and Brecht. Richard Sieburth's translations include Friedrich Holderlin's Hymns and Fragments, Walter Benjamin's Moscow Diary, Gerard de Nerval's Selected Writings, and Henri Michaux's Emergences/Resurgences. His English edition of the Nerval won the 2000 PEN Book-of-the-Month-Club Translation Prize. Richard Sieburth's translations include Friedrich Holderlin's Hymns and Fragments, Walter Benjamin's Moscow Diary, Gerard de Nerval's Selected Writings, and Henri Michaux's Emergences/Resurgences. His English edition of the Nerval won the 2000 PEN Book-of-the-Month-Club Translation Prize.
 
Published November 1, 2004 by Archipelago. 199 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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