Günter Grass

Franklin Library Günter Grass books

The Meeting at Telgte - Limited First Edition Society - 1981


Writer Günter Grass

Günter Grass (1927-2015) was a German novelist, poet, playwright, sculptor, and graphic artist, widely regarded as one of the most important literary figures in post-war Germany. Born on October 16, 1927, in the Free City of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland), Grass grew up during a tumultuous period marked by the rise of Nazism and World War II. As a teenager, Grass served in the Waffen-SS, the military arm of the Nazi Party, towards the end of World War II. This fact became a point of controversy later in his life, especially after he revealed it in his memoir, Peeling the Onion (Beim Häuten der Zwiebel), published in 2006. The revelation sparked debates about his involvement with the Nazi regime and raised questions about the reliability of his earlier autobiographical works.

Grass's literary career began in the 1950s with the publication of his first collection of poetry, The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel), in 1959. This novel, part of his Danzig Trilogy, brought him international acclaim and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1999. "The Tin Drum" is known for its inventive narrative style and exploration of German history and the human condition. Over the years, Grass continued to produce a significant body of work, including novels, plays, and essays. His other notable works include Cat and Mouse (Katz und Maus) and Dog Years (Hundejahre), which, along with The Tin Drum, form the Danzig Trilogy. Grass often addressed political and social issues in his writings, and he was an outspoken critic of both German and international politics.

Apart from his literary endeavors, Günter Grass was also an accomplished visual artist. He created illustrations for his own works and held exhibitions of his drawings and sculptures. Grass's works reflect his commitment to addressing the complexities of German history and the moral responsibilities of individuals in society. Günter Grass passed away on April 13, 2015, in Lübeck, Germany. Despite the controversies surrounding his wartime past, he left an indelible mark on world literature and remains a key figure in discussions about the role of the artist in confronting historical and political challenges.


The Meeting At Telgte

A group of leading intellectuals from all parts of Germany gather in 1647 for the purpose of strengthening the last remaining bond within a divided nation-its language and literature-as the Thirty Years' War comes to an end.

In his story, Grass invents a meeting of German Baroque poets in the summer of 1647, towards the end of the Thirty Years' War and in the face of a shattered Germany, which is modeled on the famous meetings, readings and discussions of Group 47. The game of identifying the poets of the time with today's well-known authors is fun. The commentary establishes the multiple connections between the Baroque period and the present and provides the most important documents on the creation and reception of this through-composed story, which is one of Günter Grass' undisputed masterpieces.

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