Georg Büchner's Woyzeck

Georg Büchner's Woyzeck

A History of Its Criticism

David G. Richards


Camden House



A study of the literary criticism of the famous and influential German play fragment Woyzeck.
Although it was never completed, Georg Büchner's drama fragment Woyzeck occupies a pivotal place in the development of modern drama: its stature and influence have been recognized by representatives of naturalism, expressionism, epic theater, the theater of the absurd, and the documentary theater. It provided the libretto for one of the century's greatest operas, Alban Berg's Wozzeck, has been made into a film, and is frequently performed in many countries. The history of the criticism of Woyzeck is fascinating not only for the diversity of critical approaches but also for the dependence of criticism and interpretation on editors' constructions of a playable text from Büchner's three drafts or complexes of scenes. The debate about an authoritative text is ongoing, and this contributes greatly to the liveliness of the continuing critical dialogue about Büchner's work. This is the first extensive survey and analysis of the criticism of Woyzeck from the nineteenth century to the present.

David G. Richards is professor emeritus at SUNY Buffalo and has written extensively about German literature.


April 2001
181 pages
9x6 in
Literary Criticism in Perspective
ISBN: 9781571132208
Format: Hardback
Camden House
BISAC LIT004170, LIT013000
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Table of Contents

Criticism to 1945
Post-War Criticism: 1946-1962
Construction of a Reading and Acting Text
International Criticism: 1966-1979
Recent Criticism: 1980 to 1999
Appendix: The Manuscript of Woyzeck
Works by Georg Büchner
Works Cited


This study is an important one, as it provides student and scholar an excellent analysis of the problematic, intense and sharply divided Woyzeck criticism up to the most recent scholarship in the 1990s. --Dieter Sevin

The study deserves much recognition for surveying and evaluating the staggering harvest of a century's criticism. GERMAN QUARTERLY

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