Monday, January 28, 2013

Günter Grass

Günter Wilhelm Grass (born 16 October 1927) is a German novelist, poet, playwright, illustrator, graphic artist, sculptor and recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature. He is widely regarded as Germany's most famous living writer.
Grass was born in the Free City of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland). In 1945, he came to West Germany as a homeless refugee, though in his fiction he frequently returns to the Danzig of his childhood.
Grass is best known for his first novel, The Tin Drum (1959), a key text in European magic realism, and the first part of his Danzig Trilogy, which also includes Cat and Mouse and Dog Years. His works are frequently considered to have a left-wing political dimension and Grass has been an active supporter of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). 
The Tin Drum was adapted into a film, which won both the 1979 Palme d'Or and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The Swedish Academy, upon awarding him the Nobel Prize in Literature, noted him as a writer "whose frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history".
On 4 April 2012, Grass's poem "What Must Be Said" ("Was gesagt werden muss") was published in several European newspapers. In the poem, Grass expresses his concern about the hypocrisy of German military support (the delivery of a submarine) for an Israel that might use such equipment to launch nuclear warheads against Iran, which "could wipe out the Iranian people" (das...iranische Volk auslöschen könnte). And he hoped that many will demand "that the governments of both Iran and Israel allow an international authority free and open inspection of the nuclear potential and capability of both." In response, Israel declared him persona non grata in Israel.
On 26 April 2012, he wrote a poem criticizing European policy for the treatment of Greece in the European sovereign-debt crisis. In the poem, called "Europe's Disgrace", Grass accuses Europe of condemning Greece into poverty, a country "whose mind conceived, Europe."

1 comment:

  1. Yes, Grass is a left-wing political writer. And he always blamed other people of his generation for keeping silent about their roles and activities during the Nazi regime.

    But shortly after having recieved his Nobel Prize, his autobiographical novel "Beim Häuten der Zwiebel" ("Peeling the Onion")came out, in which he finally admitted, that he had been a member of the "Waffen-SS" himself at the age of 17.

    I think, you should not blame an old man for what he did at the age of 17. But you surely may blame one of the leading intellectuals in Germany for many years of bigotry.