In 1997, I completed my Ph.D. in German literature/cultural studies/translation studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Here are the abstract and table of contents of my dissertation:


The three dramas of nineteenth-century German playwright Georg Büchner represent an interesting case study of how literary reputations are made and how the value of literary texts is determined. This dissertation undertakes a detailed examination of the reception of Büchner’s dramas in Anglo-American culture from 1919, the year the first English-language translation of one of Büchner’s plays was published, through the 1960s, when Büchner had become an established part of the canon of world drama.

Employing a methodology based on the work of Hans Robert Jauß and Michel Foucault as well as several contemporary translation theorists, the goal of this dissertation is to investigate some of the factors that influenced the building of Büchner’s literary reputation in the United States and England. Based on the findings of this case study, it is also the goal of this dissertation to make a contribution to the on-going development of a non-normative, reception-oriented approach to translation studies.

The research of this dissertation is based primarily on the published English-language translations of the plays of Georg Büchner, the texts that were published with the translations, and the published reviews of the translations and performances of Büchner’s plays in the United States and England from the beginnings of the reception of Büchner’s works in England and the United States in the early twentieth century to the 1960s, when Büchner’s reputation had been well established in English-language culture.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Theoretical Groundwork

  • Translation Study as a Linguistic Study
  • Translation of “Sacred” or Canonical Texts
  • Translation as a Process
  • Translation as Rewriting
  • The Power of Reception: The Cultural Turn in Translation Theory
  • Translation and Horizons of Expectation: Histories of Reception
  • Translations as Cultural Manipulation: Rewritings as Regimes of Truth
  • From Theory to Practice: An Interim Conclusion

Chapter 2: German-language Büchners

  • Büchner’s Life
  • Early Failed Image: Büchner as Young German
  • The Socialists’ Büchner
  • Büchner for Social Democrats and Naturalists
  • Büchner’s Reception in Germany: The Twentieth Century
  • Conclusion

Chapter 3: Anglophone Büchners

  • Büchner in America: The Socialists
  • Büchner in the Early Twentieth-Century: The Great European
  • Büchner in America: The German-English Version
  • The Other English Büchner: Büchner after World War II
  • Büchner and the Canon of World Theater
  • Büchner and the 1960s
  • Büchner as an English Classic: Conclusion

Chapter 4: Büchner as Reception Case Study

Appendix A: English-language Translations of Georg Büchner’s Works through 1980

Appendix B: Performances of Büchner’s Works in Britain and the United States through 1980

Works Cited

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