The need has long existed to account for the great variety of material which was written and printed in hundreds of works by other authors besides Franz Joseph Gall between the time when Gall first announced his skull theories in 1798 and the time when he finally published them himself in 1810. Quite a few phrenological bibliographies have been published, notably those of Choulant (1844), Möbius (1903 and 1905), Temkin (1947), Lantéri-Laura (1970), Heintel (1985), and Wyhe (2004). But the bibliography attached to this translation of Kotzebue's play is the most nearly complete of any which have so far appeared for this period.
Today, one hundred years after the play's first performance, a new musical version of this essential modern masterpiece is being hailed as the "best new musical . . . in a generation" (John Heilpern, The New York Observer). Franzen's version of the text—for so long poorly served in English—is unique in capturing the bizarre and inimitable comic spirit that animates almost every line of this unrelentingly tragic play. There couldn't be a better time for this thrilling, definitive new translation.