The University of Wisconsin Press

Literature and Criticism


Love, Lust, and Rebellion
New Approaches to Georg Büchner
Reinhold Grimm

When Georg Büchner died at the age of twenty-three, he left behind a revolutionary corpus of plays that would prove to be important precursors of modern world theater. In this study of the German playwright, Reinhold Grimm offers close readings of the surviving works—revealing hitherto neglected and crucial elements of Büchner’s oeuvre—and places the dramatist in a broad historical and literary context. Scholars and students of German drama, comparative literature, and modern theater, and practitioners interested in staging Büchner’s plays will find this a rewarding analysis—one that not only underscores Büchner’s importance and clarifies his interlocking concepts of rebellion, love, and lust, but tells us much about the roots and evolution of contemporary revolutionary drama.

The larger conclusions Grimm draws from the individual readings of Büchner's works allow a new, cohesive perspective of Büchner, his art, and his times. It was Büchner’s over-powering eroticism, Grimm argues, that pervaded the dramatist’s work and helped shape his social, aesthetic, and metaphysical rebellion. Grimm sees that rebellion, and the fiercely revolutionary plays it spawned, as the first great literary repercussion of the French Revolution and an expression of the concomitant rise of European nihilism—as well as a critical harbinger of a radically new cultural epoch.

Reinhold Grimm
was, at the time of publication, Vilas Research Professor of comparative literature and German at the University of Wisconsin—Madison.

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October 1985
LC: 84-040497 PT
280 pp.   
ISBN-10: 0-299-09860-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-299-09860-5
Cloth $30.00 s

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