The Art Newspaper:
He denounces the German army’s 1990 use of the painting as a recruiting ad as culpable ignorance of the nation’s history: “I claim an unwritten right, the human right to a past”
Günter Grass, widely considered to be the greatest German writer of his generation, died on 13 April, aged 87.
Gunter Grass in Berlin. Photo: Rex Features via AP Images
Grass achieved international recognition for his first novel, Die Blechtrommel, The Tin Drum (1959), an example of the literary movement called the Vergangenheitsbewältigung, that is “coming to terms with the past”. It was followed by Katz und Maus (Cat and Mouse, 1961) and Hundejahre (Dog Years, 1963), the three becoming the Danzig Trilogy. In 1965, he was awarded the prestigious Georg Büchner Prize. Grass was an active supporter of the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SDP) and was a frequent critic not just of the Right, but, during the SDP chancellorship of Willy Brandt (1969-74), of radicals on the Left. He became a recognised public intellectual who frequently commented on current events…
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