The Hessian Courier, Storm and Stress
Medium: Literature Theatre
Artist: Georg Buchner (1813 - 1837)
Confronting Bodies: Hessian authorities and German publishers
Dates of Action: 1834; 1836
Location: The state of Hesse-Darmstadt in pre-unified Germany
Description of Artwork: Buchner helped author The Hessian Courier. In 1834 he printed a letter protesting the new grand duke of Hesse, writing, "The political circumstances are enough to drive me mad. The wretched people patiently pull the cart on which the princes and liberals play their monkey tricks." His 1836 play Storm and Stress describes a society in chaos and his publisher insisted on cuts.
The Incident: Two of Buchner's associates at The Hessian Courier were arrested for transporting copies of the periodical. He knew his arrest would promptly follow and fled across the border to Strasbourg where he wrote most of his literary works including Storm and Stress. His publisher agreed to print it only if he made cuts. Dialogue was cut such as :
Soldier: Oh Christina, my Christina, when we play the concertina does it leave you sore, sore, sore.
Results of Incident: Buchner studied biology and continued writing plays after leaving Hesse. He was awarded a doctorate and lectureship in natural history from the University of Zurich where he taught and wrote until his early death in 1837 from typhus at the age of 23.
Source: Censorship, A World Encyclopedia, ed. D. Jones; Wikipedia