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Review of Lenz, from Lori D. Kranz, in The Bloomsbury Review

 

Georg Büchner (1813-1837) was primarily a playwright whose works inspired Brecht, Ionesco, and even the German filmmaker Werner Herzog. Lenz, a novella about a playwright who becomes schizophrenic, is presented here in a bilingual edition. Translator Richard Sieburth refers to the story as “an experiment in speculative biography, part fact, part fabrication,” and very modern, for it tells of insanity from the inside. Also included in the book are excerpts from two works on which the novella is based: Goethe’s Poetry and Truth, a memoir of his relationship with Lenz, and the diary of J.F. Oberlin, a pastor who took care of Lenz.

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