Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Günter Grass enchanted 1900s – Today’s News





The German writer and Nobel literature laureate died on Monday. “A visionary epic poet, someone who would rather add another five or ten colorful scenes than rounds and grinds,” writes Jens Christian Brandt about Günter Grass.






The German writer and Nobel literature laureate died on Monday. “A visionary epic poet, someone who would rather add another five or ten colorful scenes than rounds and grinds,” writes Jens Christian Brandt about Günter Grass.

He makes his debut the same year as the Dalai Lama fled to India. And like a doll named Barbie for the first time launched.

It’s 1959, and a long and schizophrenic decade, a decade of cotton candy and barbed wire, of dotted silk scarves and arms race, is coming to an end when Günter Grass’ The Tin Drum “published in September that year.


The author is then 32 years old and genius explained overnight.

In Germany states a virtually unanimous critics that the story of the short adult drummer boy Oskar Matzerath not only a masterpiece but also – through its mix of “reckless fantasy” and “harsh reality” – marks the beginning of a new chapter in post-war German literature. With its “reckless” talent, writes critics, sweeps Grass in one blow away all the “neat mediocrity” that for far too long been the dominant fashion. But the praise is also a warning. So putrid that the zeitgeist is, a genius who Grass persecution of the epoch moralapostlar. An evil, or at least hopelessly petty, trinity of “pastors, professors and politicians’ will, they write unanimous but discouraged critics, not to allow an authorship of this magnitude may grow and prosper.

With hindsight in hand, one can say that they got right. But not so.

Grass was the great word artist who for four years wrote three exceptionally acclaimed books, but then shifted to the literary arbiters of taste and instead became politicians and editorial writer’s favorite author.

But we take it from the beginning. He was born and raised in one of the war’s most remarkable cities. German Danzig had after World War has become a neutral enclave, an autonomous free state supervised by the League of Nations. There was a fast train to Berlin, but it went through the so-called “Polish Corridor” – a narrow strip of land that lay wedged between Danzig and the German Empire, which was Poland’s only link with the Baltic Sea – and typically were railway wagons fitted with metal shutters on Polish territory were drawn over the windows so that the Germans would not be able to spy on strategic items.

A surreal place, that is. Insulated and mercy itself. A European microcosm where the interwar all neuroses, revenge-Semitism but also the hopes for peace and prosperity, daily abraded against each other.

Long before Gabriel García Márquez invented his magical Macondo appointed Grass this Danzig to a universe where gravity was set out games and the most amazing things could happen. This is where the protagonist of “The Tin Drum” arrested development, but in return advances to a brilliant jazz star who admired both by the Nazis and Polish nationalists.

In the sequels “Cat and Mouse” (1961) and “Dog Years” (1965) span Grass upon the story of Danzig and Danzig residents’ fates, as an enchanted mirror of 1900s history.

Just as the 1959 Critics guessed scandals were pouring tightly. A politician in Hesse tried in vain to get the “Cat and Mouse” censored because one of the chapters in some detail depicts a “masturbation Olympiad”. And in the right circles appreciated not how the author ran with the Iron Cross, one of Germany’s finest military orders awarded for “bravery in the field” – but in Grass interpretation becomes the symbol of militarism regressive humanity.

After the “Dog Years “pulled Grass, , like dozens of other West German writer, increasingly to politics. It was the decisive year in West Germany’s history when everything hung in the balance. The Student Movement big protests had not yet come in time, but the country’s radical torn between frustration and optimism. One thought, with the Social Democrat Willy Brandt’s words, that the time was ripe to “dare more democracy” and in the process was expected – it was most agree – the authors conclude.

Grass had already 1961 started to moonlight as an editor and first readers of Willy Brandt’s political speeches. Towards the end of the 60th century escalating commitment continuously up; in the election campaign in 1969, he travels, the Social Democrats names, more than thirty thousand miles crisscrossing the West Germany. The experience of this guest appearance in talking seats and the waving banner the country, he will eventually be put into print in the journal “From a snail’s life” (1972).

He is, as said, is far from the only German intellectuals who during the epoch move out from the elevated aesthetics ivory tower and instead makes itself at home on public meetings and behind the echoing microphones. But he is, perhaps, those who pay the highest price for their commitment. While other great writers such as Hans Magnus Enzensberger and Max Frisch relatively smooth scurry back and forth between these two roles, folktribunens and the artist, ports Grass in a way, in a kind of no man’s land between the fronts.

In the decades that follows, he continues to write his great novels. They are characterized by the abundant joy of narration, the verbal fireworks, as “Danzig Trilogy”, but Grass form of address is nonetheless changed. He now becomes – or, at least by both critics and readers to be perceived as – a teaching authors. Novels such as “right before” (1986), “Klockgrodans warning cry” (1992) or “An intricate history” (1995) all have a clear purpose: they want to teach and they are written by an author who is not always willing to let the reader decide what is good or evil in history.

I remember an October 1999 interview a number of German literary critic. In the remote Stockholm had Horace Engdahl just announced that Grass awarded this year’s Nobel Prize and the critics I spoke with was not really happy with that choice. They saw him as “a figure from the Old Testament.” A prophet who shook his hand and demanded not only be listened but above all obeyed.

But I think the time is not yet ripe for the final verdict of his collected works. Just like the picture Alfred Döblin’s Grass a visionary epic poet, someone who would rather add another five or ten colorful scenes than round off and polish to the already written. In this way, he is a child not of his own time, but from German Expressionism. It is not in the concentrated part of his greatness manifests itself, but in the expansive movement forward. New generations of readers will be enthralled by the stories of Danzig, but perhaps also with greater generosity see the merits in the later books.







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