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Buechner and the Bible: Function, configuration, and development of biblical quotations in the works of Georg Buechner

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Trina Kae Young
Abstract:
Georg Büchner's oeuvre contains an extraordinary number of biblical quotations. Although previous research has traced the origins of various quotations and analyzed the contextualization of select quotations, a comprehensive investigation of the author's employment of biblical quotations is still lacking. In this study biblical quotations throughout Büchner's oeuvre are identified chronologically, classified according to their function (support or introduce an argument, aesthetically enhance the text, or function as self-referential elements) and type (direct, modified, indirect quotation or allusion), and examined in the context of each individual work. As became evident in the earlier stages of research for this study, the utilization of biblical quotations in Der Hessische Landbote, the author's first text and an unintentional collaboration with Friedrich Ludwig Weidig, follows a distinct pattern. First, biblical allusions demonstrate the people's socioeconomic division, then they create both a Christ- and an Anti-Christ figure, and finally, they advocate political change in form of a violent revolution. As this study from there on demonstrates, each of Büchner's subsequent texts utilizes a variation of this general pattern of biblical quotation employment modified to fit its genre, its aesthetics, and its particular strategy. Consequently, the divisions of mankind demonstrated may be - depending upon the text - political, psychological or even physical, there may be a Christ-figure, an Anti-Christ figure or both, and the resulting call for change may be political, social, or economic. It is shown that this tripartite pattern of biblical quotation employment evolved considerably throughout Büchner's oeuvre, mirroring the author's own evolving reception of the contemporary debate between an emerging materialist philosophy and the prevailing idealist discourse in philosophy and in science. This broader study of biblical quotations - demonstrating the repeated division of mankind, the introduction of a Christ-figure, and the call for social change - reveals both the author's consistent adherence to a pattern - despite diverse genres and themes - and his ability to utilize the Bible's versatility to fit each particular genre and theme.

CONTENTS ABSTRACT ..................................................................................................................... iii LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS …....................................................................................... vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ........................................................................................... viii Chapters: INTRODUCTION …............................................................................................ 1 1 DER HESSISCHE LANDBOTE: AM ANFANG: A TEMPLATE FOR BÜCHNER'S BIBLICAL QUOTATION EMPLOYMENT ….................. 17 2 DANTONS TOD: ES MUß JA ÄRGERNIS KOMMEN …........................... 65 3 LENZ: STEHE AUF UND WANDLE .......................................................... 108 4 LEONCE UND LENA: O ZUFALL! O VORSEHUNG! ............................. 135 5 WOYZECK: DU BIST GESCHAFFE STAUB, SAND, DRECK …............ 163 CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................. 197 WORKS CONSULTED …............................................................................................ 207

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS I Poschmann, Henri. Georg Büchner: Sämtliche Werke in zwei Bänden. Band I. Frankfurt a.M.: Insel Taschenbuch, 2002. II Poschmann, Henri. Georg Büchner: Sämtliche Werke in zwei Bänden. Band II. Frankfurt a.M.: Insel Taschenbuch, 2002. Bark Bark, Joachim. “Bibelsprache in Büchners Dramen: Stellenkommentar und interpretatorische Hinweise.” In Zweites Internationales Georg Büchner Symposium 1987 Referate. Ed. Burghard Dedner und Günter Oesterle. Frankfurt/M: Hain, 1990. 476-505. Borgards Borgards, Roland; Harald Neumeyer (eds.). Büchner Handbuch. Leben – Werk – Wirkung. Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler, 2009. Dedner Dedner, Burghard. Erläuterungen und Dokumente Georg Büchner Woyzeck. Stuttgart: Phillip Reclam jun., 2007. DT Dantons Tod Funk Funk, Gerald. Erläuterungen und Dokumente Georg Büchner Dantons Tod. Stuttgart: Phillip Reclam jun. GmbH & Co., 2002. Glück Glück, Alfons. “Woyzeck: Ein Mensch als Objekt.” In Interpretationen: Georg Büchner: Dantons Tod, Lenz, Leonce und Lena, Woyzeck. Stuttgart: Phillip Reclam jun. GmbH & Co., 2007. 179-216. Hinderer Hinderer, Walter. “Lenz: »Sein Dasein war ihm eine notwendige Last«”. In Interpretationen: Georg Büchner: Dantons Tod, Lenz, Leonce und Lena, Woyzeck. Stuttgart: Phillip Reclam jun. GmbH & Co., 2007. 63-112. HL Der Hessische Landbote Knapp Knapp, Gerhard P. Georg Büchner 3. Auflage. Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler Verlag, 2000. LL Leonce und Lena

Niehoff Niehoff, Reiner. Die Herrschaft des Textes: Zitattechnik als Sprachkritik in Georg Büchners Drama "Danton's Tod" unter Berücksichtigung der "Letzten Tage der Menschheit" von Karl Kraus. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1991. Reddick Reddick, John. Georg Büchner: The Shattered Whole. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994. Schaub Schaub, Gerhard. Georg Büchner Friedrich Ludwig Weidig: Der Hessische Landbote Studienausgabe. Stuttgart: Phillip Reclam jun. GmbH & Co., 1996. vii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Without Professor Gerhard Knapp's patience, my husband Jeff's faith, Nils, Nina and Sophie's nearly perfect behavior or my parents' and in-laws' encouragement there would be no completed text. Thank you for believing in me.

INTRODUCTION The Yale Book of Quotations, Barlett’s Familiar Quotations, and Best Quotations for all Occasions are three of countless collections of quotations compiled for popular audiences. 1 Frequently presented with little or no context, these quotations often embody witty or wise aphorisms intended to connote little more than the words that create them. Although most are familiar with or can quote John F. Kennedy’s famous words “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country,” few could contextualize the phrase in its original address – and for many there is no reason to do so. In literary analysis, however, a quotation’s understanding and interpretation often depends upon its contextualization both in its original and in its new text. When appropriately integrated, these quotations and allusions, like other literary elements, form an alliance between text and recipient, 2 the strength of which is dependent upon recognition, understanding, and acceptance of the quotations. “To be or not to be,” “A rose by any other name”: Clearly recognizable quotations have found their way into our contemporary collective consciousness and have been integrated into texts, from a cell-phone advertisement to an airline seating-selection system. 3 Emails are often signed with a favorite quotation to provide insight into their senders’ intelligence, humor, or opinions. These quotations intend to induce a sense of 1 The list continues: Robin. Hyman’s 1965 The Quotation Dictionary; Everett McKinley Dirksen’s 1971 Quotation Finder; The 2005 Chambers Dictionary of Quotations. Reader’s Digest even includes a “Quotable Quotes” section in each month’s edition. 2 Milton and Bacon, as examples, are described as using “their styles, their rhetorical devices, their quotations” to “ win over their audience to willing alliance with them” (Kellett 58). 3 Garber points out advertisers’ witty modifications of Shakespeare, including “to beep or not to beep” and “2B or not 2B” (204).

2 common ground – a social “club” per se, 4 but more often only produce an apparent feeling of community as many can identify the aforementioned quotations as Shakespearean, but few would recognize the play from which they originate, and even fewer their speaker or contextualization. Whether actual or apparent, this common ground creates “sympathy between [the author] and the reader” (Kellett 19). Recognition allows the recipient to boast that he or she understands the quotation as a fragment displaced from another text 5 and consequently a reader gains pleasure from and is sympathetic to a text that offers such recognizable quotations 6 – something pop culture has recognized. From films such as Ernst Lubitsch’s 1943 To Be or Not to Be and Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 montage hit Moulin Rouge! to songs like The Byrds’ 1965 Turn! Turn! Turn!, quotations saturate film and music. Familiar quotations are employed because they are “almost immediately enjoyed by the multitude” (Ibid. 18) and once fashioned, this bond between text and reader encourages continued reading, listening, or viewing. A contextualized quotation must not merely be recognized, though; it must also be understood. In Claude Debussy’s Golliwog’s Cakewalk, the composer plays an offshoot of Richard Wagner, but as Ann McKinley explains, the musical quotation is funny only “provided the listener gets the joke.” 7 George Bernard Shaw’s quotation “Lack of money is the root of all evil” from the end of Man and Superman changes only three letters from its source, but the ironic phrase creates a political message out of a biblical (or moral) 4 Garber describes it as “[…] a code of belonging. Literary men recognize one another by the classical tags that ornament their language” (15). 5 A quotation is a “breech” into a new and a “trace” of an existing text (Still 11). 6 As Kellett explains, “much of the pleasure derived by the reader from a quotation or allusion is that of recognition […]” (17). 7 Ann McKinkely. “Debussy and American Minstrelsy.” The Black Perspective in Music 14.3 (Autumn 1986): 249-258.

3 one. 8 Both examples’ wit relies on the recipient’s understanding of the source and original contextualization. 9

However, recognition of a quotation is not solely the recipient’s responsibility: Authors must create identifiable allusions. In Patrick Süskind’s 1985 novel, Das Parfum, the author’s description, “Und der Große Grenouille sah, daß es gut war, sehr, sehr gut” (162), recognizably alludes to the biblical creation account and associates the protagonist with the Old Testament God through a combination of word choice, word order, and grammar. 10 A sentence such as “Grenouille sah seine großen guten Werke” would not be considered a biblical citation, although it is composed of a comparable lexicon (groß, gut, sah). Closer still is the allusion “Und der Große Grenouille sah es war gut,” but even this grammatical structure (i.e., the lack of a subordinating conjunction) fails to mirror the original source as closely as Süskind’s. The incorporation of an appropriate combination of lexicon and grammar aids in the citation’s recognition. And recognition is crucial for an accurate transfer of ideas, emotions, and thoughts, 11 rather than mere words. The description of Grenouille does not only express the character’s pride in personal accomplishments, but, when associated with the biblical root, gives the character an omnipotent (godlike) quality, which permeates the remainder of Das Parfum. Authors 8 Especially considering the author’s socialist views, his biblical allusion is a political cry for class equality (in other words, if all had money, there would be no evil). 9 cf.. “Den Sachverhalt, von dem sie spricht, muß sie bekannt und begreiflich machen” (Klotz 98). 10 See 1 Mose 1.4: “Und Gott sah, daß das Licht gut war.” 11 “[…] das Zitat vergegenwärtigt einen andernorts existierenden, sinnhaften Zusammenhang, einen ‘Gedanken’; es führt diesen Gedanken als Autorität, als ‘Zeugen’ ein; und es läßt ihn in seiner bereits vorhandenen sprachlichen Gestalt auftreten. Das Besondere an dieser letzten Implikation, die die erste mitumfaßt, besteht darin, daß die einmal gewählten Worte unverändert übernommen werden; daß die sprachliche Gestalt mit dem Gedanken zusammengedacht und in dieser Verbindung zu bedenken ist. Sofern ich zitiere, habe ich es also – auch das scheint banal – nicht nur mit einem bestimmten Inhalt, sondern auch mit einem bestimmten Ausdruck zu tun” (Niehoff 22).

4 must not only phrase, but also choose and place their allusions properly. While obscure or excessive quotations frustrate, confuse, or are simply overlooked, appropriate quotations help create a “seamless” – or smooth – text (Still 10), which more clearly expresses difficult ideas. An example appears in Schiller’s Maria Stuart. Maria quotes the Bible to justify her use of Melvil, the housemaster, as a source of spiritual comfort before her execution: Hier ist kein Priester, keine Kirche, kein Hochwürdiges – Doch der Erlöser spricht: »Wo zwei versammelt sind in meinem Namen, Da bin ich gegenwärtig unter ihnen.« Was weiht den Priester ein zum Mund des Herrn? Das reine Herz, der unbefleckte Wandel. - So seid Ihr mir, auch ungeweiht, ein Priester, Ein Bote Gottes, der mir Frieden bringt. (3633-3640) Christ’s quotation 12 is “seamlessly” incorporated because Maria introduces the quotation (with an observation that there is no priest or church for last confessions) and then expounds upon the quote by questioning the qualifications of a representative of God. The quotation fits the text and the argument, as justification of Maria’s unconventional last confessions. Thus far, I have only employed examples of quotations intended to strengthen the author/reader alliance through enhanced audience enjoyment. Historically more common was the adoption of quotation as “a subterfuge” (Kellett 44), or the perception of a certain text’s authority as means to gain an end. Martin Luther incorporated biblical quotations as an authority and last word: “damit wir nicht mit Worten […] fechten […]” (21). Rather than as a battle field, the use of quotations as an authority employs the text as a 12 See Matthäus 18.20: “Denn wo zwei oder drei versammelt sind in meinem Namen, da bin ich mitten unter ihnen.”

5 negotiation table to further develop the alliance between text and reader. When author and recipient share confidence in a similar source, its citations increase the readers’ faith in the new text. The quotations both shelter the author from lone responsibility for the text’s content and validate their own argument. In order to identify John the Baptist, for example, St. Matthew quotes Isaiah’s description of a future prophet. 13 Matthew incorporates the words of an earlier prophet (Isaiah) as authority; the citation, when trusted, authenticates his testament of and the actual identity of John the Baptist. The use of quotation as authority further strengthens the reader/text alliance because both employ dependency: the reader on the text, and the text on the quotation’s source. If, for example, I read Martin Luther as an authority – depending upon and expounding his works – I can relate to the text as it depends upon and expounds biblical teachings. Whether for reader enjoyment or as an authority, authors utilize different types of quotations. These types are categorized according to how strongly quotations resemble their original, i.e., overt to covert. Because they exactly replicate the source (verbatim), direct quotations are most easily identifiable and present a strong, clear textual signal for the reader. These direct quotations are often set apart by quotation marks and even referenced. In order to support his argument in favor of self-reliance, for example, Martin Luther directly quotes the apostle Paul: “Dann Sankt Paul sagt: ‘Wer nicht arbeitet, soll auch nicht essen’” (Luther 80). The direct quotation is especially practical when incorporated as an authority because both an unmistakable reference to the source as verification and a statement of agreement or disagreement with the textual argument 13 Matthäus 3.3 directly quotes Jesaja 40.3: “Und er ist der, von dem der Prophet Jesaja gesagt hat und gesprochen: »Es ist eine Stimme eines Predigers in der Wüste: Bereitet dem Herrn den Weg und machete richtig seine Steige!«”

6 are necessary. The direct quotations, although unchanged, can be innovatively contextualized. At the conclusion of Günter Kunert’s parabolic twist on the story of Job, Hiob gut bügerlich, the author employs a quotation from the account’s biblical source as authentication: “Ist’s nicht also? Wohlan, wer will mich lügen strafen und bewähren, daß meine Rede nichts sei?” (Billen 210). 14 Although employed to authenticate the accounts preceding it, both in the original tale and the parable the lines follow significantly different accounts. Modified quotations still clearly direct the reader to their source but change – sometimes only slightly – the quotation’s original meaning. Such quotations are often employed when the new text intends to challenge the source’s argument. As a result, modified quotations are often humorous and may even tantalize the reader as the aforementioned example from Das Parfum demonstrates: Instead of God seeing that His works are good, Grenouille does. The argument ensues that Grenouille is comparable (or at least feels as though he is comparable) with God. In Das Parfum the modified quotation also serves as a decisive moment in the plot: Instead of feeling and working under others, Grenouille uses his uncanny ability to control others. Indeed, his feeling of omnipotence continues until his self-induced murder. Brecht presents another example in his poem Ballade von den Abenteuern. His question “Warum seid ihr nicht im Schoß eurer Mütter geblieben […]?” is a modified quotation of Job’s exclamation “Warum hast du mich aus Mutterleib kommen lassen?” 15 In the case of Brecht’s poem, it was 14 Compare with Hiob 24.25: “Ist’s nicht also? Wohlan, wer will mich Lügen strafen und bewähren, daß meine Rede nichts sei?” 15 See Hiob 10.18: “Warum hast du mich aus Mutterleib kommen lassen? Ach, daß ich wäre umgekommen und mich nie ein Auge gesehen hätte!”

7 necessary to modify the quotation merely to fit the subject. Indirect quotations resemble the original slightly less than modified quotations. They are greatly modified, – perhaps truncated and border on allusions – but are also still recognizable as adaptations from other sources. Friedrich Nietzsche, for example, indirectly quotes Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount” in his parable Vom Biß der Natter, as Zarathustra, a Christ figure, shares lessons with his “Jüngern” (Billen 70). The lessons differ morally from those of Christ, but are arranged similarly: So ihr aber einen Feind habt, so vergeltet ihm nicht Böses mit Gutem: denn das würde beschämen. Sondern beweist, daß er euch etwas Gutes angetan hat. Und lieber zürnt noch, als daß ihr beschämt! Und wenn euch geflucht wird, so gefällt es mir nicht, daß ihr dann segnen wollt. Lieber ein wenig mitfluchen! (Billen 70) 16

This indirect quotation imitates Christ’s style enough to identify the biblical source, but fails to mirror the lexicon and grammar as closely as a modified quotation. Finally, allusions are the most covert of references. As fractions of quotations, pastiches, or montages they only point towards a “hidden” text. In Goethe’s Faust I, the protagonist deems himself “Ich Ebenbild der Gottheit” (line 516, p.17). Not a direct, indirect or modified quotation, the reference only alludes to man’s creation in the likeness of God. 17 Daja, the Christian nanny in G. E. Lessing’s Nathan der Weise, also alludes to the Bible to characterize herself. When her hopes for the young Recha’s future are not reciprocated by the Jewish Nathan, she relies on faith with the exclamation: “Des 16 cf.. Matthäus 5 (specifically verses 22, 44). 17 See 1 Mose 1.27: “Und Gott schuf den Menschen ihm zum Bilde, zum Bilde Gottes schuf er ihn; und schuf sie einen Mann und ein Weib.”

8 Himmels Wege sind des Himmels Wege,” an allusion to Isaiah. 18 Entire texts may be considered allusions as well. Gottfried Keller’s Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe alludes to the Shakespearean play. The original text, however, remains “hidden” because the reader must search for similarities as character names, familial situations, and plot differ. Allusions enhance a text through this playful approach to references. When properly implemented and understood, quotations often introduce, support, or embellish the text’s argument. In Goethe’s Faust I, Marthe is devastated after learning of her husband’s death and requests a second witness to Mephistopheles’s testimony. The devil responds with the modified biblical quotation, “Ja, gute Frau, durch zweier Zeugen Mund / Wird allerwegs die Wahrheit kund” (87). 19 Mephistopheles’s deception comes two fold. First, the character lacks a second witness, but uses language that allows Marthe to presume another is self-evident. Second, the devil employs the Bible (i.e., his rival’s Holy Book) as a testament of his honesty, which supports the textual argument that Mephistopheles is dishonest – and will readily abuse anything (even Marthe’s trust in the Bible, the Bible itself, death and mourning) to further his cause. Another example is found in Elfriede Jelinek’s 1984 play, Krankheit oder Moderne Frauen. Emily reveals herself as a vampire by displaying her teeth and directly quoting “Ich bin der Anfang und das Ende” (196). Both the biblical God and vampires are regarded as immortal: Emily uses the same phrase to declare her immortality as God does to declare His. 20 She then continues with the modified quotation “Von dem ich esse, der wird ewig leben” (Ibid.), 18 cf.. Jesaja 55.8-9: “Denn meine Gedanken sind nicht eure Gedanken, und eure Wege sind nicht meine Wege, spricht der Herr; sondern soviel der Himmel höher ist denn die Erde, so sind auch meine Wege höher denn eure Wege und meine Gedanken denn eure Gedanken.” 19 See 5 Mose 17.6 and 19.15, Matthäus 18.16, and 2 Korinther 13.1. 20 See Offenbarung 1.8, 21.6, and 22.13.

9 which illuminates the difference between God and vampires, for Christ sacrificed himself for the eternal life of others, 21 whereas Emily devours others to induce their immortality. The quotations thus present a subtle argument that Christ gave of Himself, while Emily gratifies herself. Some quotations and allusions relate to no particular argument and serve merely to enhance the text. In Jakob Wassermann’s 1923 novella, Das Gold von Caxamalca, Atahuallpa’s preparation for execution is described by the hour – an allusion to Christ’s crucifixion. Besides their similar martyrdom, however, Atahuallpa is not apotheosized as a Christ-figure, nor does the allusion refer to a particular textual argument. The reference does however beautify and clarify the text by subtly reminding the reader of another sympathetic character and unwarranted execution. Jelinek also enhances Krankheit oder Moderne Frauen through quotation. As Heidkliff examines Carmilla after the delivery of her sixth child, the doctor decides to look for “noch etwas Interessantes” and claims “Wer suchet der findet” (217). 22 This direct biblical quotation does not support an argument, but adds aesthetically to the text. Finally, quotations may be self-referential. As self-referential, words have meaning, but are also incorporated to describe themselves. 23 The adjective “big” describes size, but “big” can also be employed as a noun referring to itself – i.e., “Big is a one-syllable word.” This auto-reflexivity applies to quotation as well. Certain quotations refer to previous passages in the text (through intratextuality) or refer to other literary 21 See Johannes 6.54: “Wer mein Fleisch isset und trinket mein Blut, der hat das ewige Leben, und ich werde ihn am Jüngsten Tage auferwecken.” 22 cf. Matthäus 7.7-8. 23 “Die Sprache erweist in der Zitation ihre reflexive Fähigkeit, die sie von anderen Signalsystemen unterscheidet; das Wort referiert sich selbst” (Niehoff 23).

10 works (through intertextuality). Although all quotations can be deemed a form of intertextuality, self-referential intertextual quotations explain, examine, or describe a quotation from another text. Instead of being integrated into the text, the text builds around them. Martin Luther’s Sendbrief vom Dolmetschen. for example, employs a quotation not to contextualize it, but to examine its lexicon. Doch habe ich wiederum nicht allzu frei die Buchstaben lassen fahren, sondern mit großer Sorgfalt samt meinen Gehilfen darauf gesehen, so daß, wo es etwa drauf ankam, da hab ich’s nach den Buchstaben behalten und bin nicht so frei davon abgewichen; wie Johannes 6 (27), wo Christus spricht: “Diesen hat Gott der Vater versiegelt.” Da wäre wohl besser Deutsch gewesen: Diesen hat Gott der Vater gezeichnet, oder, diesen meinet Gott der Vater. (163-164) The quotation’s contextualization in this case does not play a role, but the quotation itself is studied. Reasons for employing quotation, different types of quotations, and textual uses for quotation all lead to authors’ unique incorporation of quotations. Like Goethe and Schiller, some authors “hide” 24 the original by modifying it to fit the rhythm and style of their texts. Other authors, like Jelinek, quote unusual sources such as Der Spiegel or Joseph Goebbels. Georg Büchner did neither. The author chose well-known quotations and made them easily recognizable. Instead of using historical and literary sources as building blocks to create a new primary text, Büchner’s texts are secondary in nature, expanding and explaining their sources. 25 The author thus treats the original texts as 24 “Der Rhythmus erst läßt den Quellentext, nach den formalen Verarbeitungen, ganz unsichtbar werden […]” and “Der außer- und innerdramatische Kontext verdeckt die wörtlich angeführte Quelle” (Niehoff 15- 16). 25 “Büchners Exzerpte werden von den Hörern als wörtliche Übernahmen historischer Reden erkannt. Damit ist die Bedingung des Zitats erfüllt: seinen Bezug aufs Zitierte sichtbar zu machen. Das Zitat weist aus dem dramatischen Immanenzzusammenhang hinaus auf vorgegebene Texte. Das Drama ist nicht ‘primär’ und ‘ursprünglich’, sondern sekundär und verweisend” (Niehoff 4).

11 authorities, 26 but still encourages a reevaluation of their contemporary connotation through careful contextualization. An example of this is found in Woyzeck. Marie’s reference to two scriptural passages simultaneously presents an easily identifiable reference, while questioning the Bible’s supposition that repentance is quick, easy, and possible. MARIE blättert in der Bibel: Und es ist kein Betrug in seinem Munde gefunden[…] Herrgott. Herrgott! Sieh mich nicht an. Blättert weiter:[…] aber die Pharisäer brachten ein Weib zu ihm, im Ehebruche begriffen und stelleten sie in’s Mittel dar. – Jesus aber sprach: so verdamme ich dich auch nicht. Geh hin und sündige hinfort nicht mehr. Schlägt die Hände zusammen. Herrgott! Herrgott! Ich kann nicht. Herrgott gib mir nur soviel, daß ich beten kann. (I, 166, 26-33) The character’s inability to repent complicates the otherwise simple biblical command “sündige hinfort nicht mehr.” With Marie’s exclamation “Ich kann nicht,” the reference argues that biblical commandments may be, in reality, impossible to obey – much like the modern idiom that it is “easier said than done.” It is also brought to the reader’s attention that we never do discover what becomes of the biblical adulteress: Maybe she cannot forsake her sin either. Marie thus serves as the continuation and modernization of the biblical story. Of course, Büchner carefully creates exactly that argument. In order to do so, as Kellett explains, the quotation must “stop at the right point” (24). Had Büchner ended with Christ’s words “so verdamme ich dich auch nicht,” another argument (i.e., a personal justification of Marie’s infidelity) would ensue. As the previous example demonstrates, Büchner’s quotations are often recognizable, but their contextualizations are often not predictable. In fact, Büchner’s 26 Niehoff explains that the sources are “übermächtig”; Büchner himself “sich unterlegen” (Ibid., 20).

12 unconventional contextualization of the quotations contributes to their identifiability. In Der Hessiche Landbote an allusion to the Creation shocks readers, as it questions the Bible’s credibility (II, 53), and in Lenz an allusion to Christ’s healing power questions the protagonist’s sanity (I, 241-242). The texts encourage questions such as: How does the Creation account (or the Bible) affect our society? How should it? What had God intended? Biblically it appears understood that Christ can raise people from the dead; in Lenz it is not surprising that the character’s efforts fail. Why is one considered insane, the other divine? Büchner’s biblical references are memorable because they are employed in unorthodox ways. 27

Many authors attempt to “catch” their readers and draw them in to continue reading or agree with the arguments made. Klotz even describes this method using the term “angeln.” 28 When fishing, one uses bait appealing to particular fish in order to lure them, hook them, and eventually consume them. Instead of trapping the reader, however, with the first lines of Der Hessische Landbote, among other allusions, Büchner “frees” (“öffnet”) readers – as if leading a fish to open waters – and encourages them to explore both the original source and the author’s argument. Niehoff contends Büchner did not actually want to portray history as it “[sich] wirklich begeben”, but rather that the “Intention des Autors sei es vielmehr, die Zitate in ein eigendefiniertes Kunstwerk umzuarbeiten” (9). However, I contend that Büchner (mis)used quotations in his text to encourage his reader’s review of the original source in order to accurately portray history. 27 “Wahrnehmbar werden die zitierten Worte bei Büchner aber nicht, weil sie nur auf sich selbst referieren; spürbar werden sie, weil sie als mißbrauchte und verletzte kritisch vergegenwärtigt werden” (Niehoff 24). 28 “Mehrere Kunstgriffe bezeugen das taktische Geschick, nach den Lesern zu angeln. ‘Es sieht so aus, als würde die Bibel Lügen gestrafft’: das kommt als keine Behauptung daher, es öffnet vielmehr einen Deutungs- und Überprüfungsspielraum” (Klotz 95).

13 An accurate depiction of history includes questioning the proper portrayal of history’s complexity. Therefore, just as Marie’s character gives the reader greater insight into the possible emotions and complications surrounding the biblical adulteress’s story, Büchner’s other quotations question our understanding of biblical and historical accounts. One way Büchner accomplishes this is by placing quotations in a new context surrounded by seemingly unrelated information. It was, for example, common to incorporate biblical quotations into political pamphlets. The pairing of biblical quotations and contemporary financial statistics, like that found in Der Hessische Landbote, was, however, novel (Niehoff 24). Büchner’s quotations are aesthetically positioned and modernized to invoke contemplation of contemporary issues. 29 In reference to Büchner’s use of quotation, Niehoff claims that “Kaum ein Problem der Büchnerischen Dramatik wird so häufig dokumentiert und so selten zur Frage ausgearbeitet” (10). This holds especially true in the case of biblical quotations. Although there have been several commentaries explaining quotations’ origins 30 or demonstrating select biblical quotations’ contextualization, 31 there lacks a comprehensive investigation of Büchner’s contextualization of biblical quotations. This is likely due to the initial uncertainty scholars faced as to what extent Büchner employed biblical quotations and allusions. Because the young author worked with the evangelical theologian Friedrich Ludwig Weidig on Der Hessische Landbote, and because his 29 “Reiz des Zitats in einer eigenartigen Spannung zwischen Assimilation und Dissimilation” in which a quotation “verbindet sich eng mit seiner neuen Umgebung, aber zugleich hebt es sich von ihr ab” (Meyer 12). 30 See Poschmann’s Stellenkommentar. 31 See Bark, Joachim.“Bibelsprache in Büchners Dramen: Stellenkommentar und interpretatorische Hinweise.” Sonderausdruck aus Zweites Internationales Georg Büchner Symposium 1987 Referate . Ed. Burghard Dedner und Günter Oesterle. Frankfurt/M: Hain, 1990.

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Abstract: Georg Büchner's oeuvre contains an extraordinary number of biblical quotations. Although previous research has traced the origins of various quotations and analyzed the contextualization of select quotations, a comprehensive investigation of the author's employment of biblical quotations is still lacking. In this study biblical quotations throughout Büchner's oeuvre are identified chronologically, classified according to their function (support or introduce an argument, aesthetically enhance the text, or function as self-referential elements) and type (direct, modified, indirect quotation or allusion), and examined in the context of each individual work. As became evident in the earlier stages of research for this study, the utilization of biblical quotations in Der Hessische Landbote, the author's first text and an unintentional collaboration with Friedrich Ludwig Weidig, follows a distinct pattern. First, biblical allusions demonstrate the people's socioeconomic division, then they create both a Christ- and an Anti-Christ figure, and finally, they advocate political change in form of a violent revolution. As this study from there on demonstrates, each of Büchner's subsequent texts utilizes a variation of this general pattern of biblical quotation employment modified to fit its genre, its aesthetics, and its particular strategy. Consequently, the divisions of mankind demonstrated may be - depending upon the text - political, psychological or even physical, there may be a Christ-figure, an Anti-Christ figure or both, and the resulting call for change may be political, social, or economic. It is shown that this tripartite pattern of biblical quotation employment evolved considerably throughout Büchner's oeuvre, mirroring the author's own evolving reception of the contemporary debate between an emerging materialist philosophy and the prevailing idealist discourse in philosophy and in science. This broader study of biblical quotations - demonstrating the repeated division of mankind, the introduction of a Christ-figure, and the call for social change - reveals both the author's consistent adherence to a pattern - despite diverse genres and themes - and his ability to utilize the Bible's versatility to fit each particular genre and theme.