Büchner, Georg

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Büchner, Georg

Büchner, Georg (gāˈôrk bükhˈnər), 1813–37, German dramatist. He was a student of medicine and a political agitator. He died at the age of 24, leaving a powerful drama, Danton's Death (1835, tr. 1928), a pessimistic view of the French Revolution and revolutionary politics; a fragmentary tragedy, Woyzeck (1837, tr. 1928), a psychological study of an alienated character that Alban Berg adapted for his opera Wozzeck; and a comedy, Leonce and Lena (1850, tr. 1928). Büchner greatly admired the poet J. M. R. Lenz, whom he made the hero of a novella, Lenz (1838, tr. 1955), which he never completed. His plays, unorthodox in subject and style, were not staged until many decades after his death.


See collections of his plays ed. by V. Price (tr. 1971) and M. Hamburger (tr. 1972); studies by A. H. J. Knight (1951) and R. Hauser (1974).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Büchner, Georg


Born Oct. 17, 1813, in Goddelau; died Feb. 19, 1837, in Zürich. German writer. Son of a doctor; brother of the philosopher L. Büchner.

At the universities of Strasbourg and Giessen, where he studied medicine and natural science, Büchner became fascinated with the ideas of the Great French Revolution and Utopian socialism. While a member of the revolutionary Society of the Rights of Man, Büchner enlisted peasants and artisans into the organization. The words “Peace to the huts, war on the palaces!” that open The Hessian Provincial Deputy, a proclamation Büchner wrote in 1834, were heard for the first time in Germany. After the organization was disbanded, Büchner lectured at the University of Zürich. Büchner’s first work is a realistic drama Danton’s Death (1835), in which the French Revolution is shown in its historical greatness and contradictions. The comedy Leonce and Lena, which was published in 1839, combines mild humor with irate satire directed toward the German dwarf states. In his best play, Woyzeck (1837), Büchner showed the social oppression and the awakening of class consciousness among the working people. The short story Lenz (1839) expresses Büchner’s aesthetic views. Although he was a materialist with regard to his world view, he opposed Schiller’s idealization of images and his romantic subjectivism.


Werke und Briefe. Wiesbaden, 1958.
In Russian translation:
Sochineniia. (Foreword by A. Dzhivelegov.) Moscow-Leningrad, 1935.


Turaeva, E. Ia. Dramaturgiia G. Biukhnera i ee stsenicheskoe voploshchenie. Moscow, 1952.
Dmitriev, A. (Foreword.) In Büchner, G. Smert’ Dantona. Moscow, 1954. (Text of book is in German.)
Meyer, H. G. Büchner und seine Zeit. Berlin, 1960.
G. Büchner. Published by W. Martens. Darmstadt, 1965.
Schröder, J. G. Büchners “Leonce und Lena.” Munich, 1966.
Johann, E. G. Büchner in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten. [Hamburg, 1969.] (Bibliography, pages 171-74.)
P’esy, proza, pis’ma. Moscow, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Woyzeck Dramatic fragment by Buchner, Georg, written between 1835 and 1837; it was discovered and published posthumously in 1879 as Wozzek and first performed in 1913.