"Leutnant Burda" is the latest in the ongoing series of historical-critical editions devoted to the prose narratives of Ferdinand von Saar. Alongside a critical edition of the text the volume traces the history of the work's inception and impact, and also gives a detailed interpretation of its content. The strongly biographical narrative, called by its author a "picture of the times" in which he had set out to portray "the hollowness and futility" not only of the life of his eponymous hero but "of the entire epoch", symbolizes in the madness of Lieutenant Burda an age careening towards disaster. In this it draws both on the philosophy of Schopenhauer and on the latest psychological thinking of the period. In terms of narrative technique the story can be said to adumbrate certain developments of the 20th century, e.g. in the way it works in literary quotations or handles the figure of the narrator.
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