Theater: Birth of the Non-Hero

Woyzeclc, by Georg Buechner, has cast a deepening shadow across 130 years and a thousand writers. It is as if this young, 19th century German with a mind like burning phosphorus and a heart like an open grave had had an apocalyptic dramatic vision of the 20th century, with its human holocausts, scientific arrogance, uncertain values, private hysteria and despair. Out of this vision, he made a sketchbook of hell—a melancholy intuition, perhaps, of the death that was already seeping through his own veins to claim him at 23. The appeal to self-pitying modern men is that Buechner was the first...

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