Günter Grass

German novelist, poet, playwright, illustrator, graphic artist, and sculptor (1927-2015)

Günter Wilhelm Grass (born 16 October 192713 April 2015) was a German novelist, poet, playwright, illustrator, graphic artist, sculptor and recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature. He was widely regarded as Germany's most famous recently living writer.

Melancholy and utopia are heads and tails of the same coin.
Pirma ni Gunter Gross


  • Even bad books are books, and therefore sacred.
    • The Tin Drum Book 1, "Rasputin and the Alphabet" (1959), as translated by Ralph Manheim (1961)
  • I shall speak of … how melancholy and utopia preclude one another. How they fertilize one another … Of the revulsion that follows one insight and precedes the next … Of superabundance and surfeit. Of stasis and progress. And of myself, for whom melancholy and utopia are heads and tails of the same coin.
    • "On Stasis and Progress"' in Diary of a Snail (1972)
  • We of the long tails! We of the presentient whiskers! We of the perpetually growing teeth! We, the serried footnotes to man, his proliferating commentary. We, indestructible!
    • The Rat (1986), p. 6

Quotes about Grass

  • The creation of the 'Polish Corridor' running from Upper Silesia to Danzig thus left East Prussia as a bleeding chunk of Germany between the Vistula and the Niémen. Was Danzig really a free city? Or was it actually a Polish captive? And was that also the true situation of East Prussia? To assert their claims, the Poles sought to monopolize the Danzig postal service; at the same time, they constructed a rival port, Gdynia, to divert commerce away from the Free City. Danzigers who wished to travel to Germany (including Prussia) required a Polish transit visa. The poisoned atmosphere generated by such petty sources of friction is well preserved in Günter Grass's Danzig trilogy, The Tin Drum, Cat and Mouse and Dog Years. It is no accident that the most memorable fictional personification of the German catastrophe, the stunted drummer Oscar Matzerath, is born in Danzig in 1924.
    • Niall Ferguson, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West (2006), pp. 163-164
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