The Günter Grass Reader

Overview

Selected from the vast range of his work, the writings included in this anthology trace Günter Grass's development as a writer, and with it the history of a nation coming to terms with its past.
Excerpts from Grass's major novels-from The Tin Drum to Crabwalk-are included, as are numerous short fictions, essays, and poems, many of which have never appeared before in English. Grass's gifts as an observer of and participant in the social and political landscape are justly ...

See more details below
Paperback
$14.50
BN.com price
(Save 3%)$15.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (50) from $1.99   
  • New (8) from $1.99   
  • Used (42) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

Selected from the vast range of his work, the writings included in this anthology trace Günter Grass's development as a writer, and with it the history of a nation coming to terms with its past.
Excerpts from Grass's major novels-from The Tin Drum to Crabwalk-are included, as are numerous short fictions, essays, and poems, many of which have never appeared before in English. Grass's gifts as an observer of and participant in the social and political landscape are justly celebrated, as are his inimitable sense of humor, his consistent defense of the disadvantaged, and his mastery of the forms of expression he has employed over the years.
For readers in search of an introduction to his work or for those familiar primarily with his novels, this diverse collection offers a fresh and stimulating introduction to one of the world's greatest living writers.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR CRABWALK
"This short yet sprawling book serves as a reminder of Grass' myriad writerly gifts."-San Francisco Chronicle
"Masterful . . . This is his most powerful book since The Tin Drum." -The Seattle Times
PRAISE FOR TOO FAR AFIELD
"It is the work of a seasoned craftsman, certain of what he wants to do, completely in control of his gifts." -The New York Times Book Review
Library Journal
This eclectic anthology of the leading German writer and Nobel Prize laureate's works includes a number of titles that have never appeared in English translation before. It reflects Grass's development as a writer in post-World War II Germany during the country's painful rebuilding process. Represented here are his better-known works, such as The Tin Drum, My Century, and Crabwalk, as well as other essays and letters, including the text of his 1999 Nobel lecture, poems, and short fiction. The result is a vibrant mix of social and political commentary, opinions, and poetry. The selections do not seem to be arranged in any discernible order nor does editor Frielinghaus provide any context or explain his criteria for choosing the selections. Those unfamiliar with Grass's work will enjoy this collection, but it will be necessary to look elsewhere for additional background information. The book will be useful to students and lay readers who seek a firsthand introduction to Grass's emblematic works. Recommended for most public and academic libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/04.]-Ali Houissa, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156029926
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 12/6/2004
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Danzig, Germany, in 1927, G_nter Grass is a widely acclaimed author of plays, essays, poems, and numerous novels. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

WHEN THE LZ-126 DREW CLOSE
TO NEW YORK

from MY CENTURY (1999)

THE DATE COLUMBUS WEIGHED ANCHOR WAS THE DATE we chose. Columbus set sail from Genoa in 1492, heading for India, though in fact he landed in America; our venture, our more accurate instruments notwithstanding, was every bit as risky. The dirigible was actually ready on the morning of the eleventh: it lay in its open hangar with precisely calculated quantities of fuel for the five Maybach engines and water for ballast on board; the ground crew had ropes in hand. But the LZ-126 refused to float: it was heavy and remained so because a layer of fog and warm air masses had suddenly rolled in and settled over the entire Lake Constance region. Since we could not spare either water or fuel, we had to postpone the takeoff until the following morning. The jeering crowd was hard to bear. We did take off on the twelfth, however.

Twenty-two men strong. For a long time it was touch and go whether I would be allowed to serve as mechanic:
I was one of the ones who by way of national protest had destroyed the last four military airships waiting in Friedrichshafen to be delivered up to the enemy, just as more than seventy ships from our fleet-including a dozen battleships and regular-service ships due to be handed over to the English-were scuttled by our own people in July 1919 at Scapa Flow. The Allies promptly demanded compensation; the Americans alone wanted us to cough up three million gold marks. But then the Zeppelin people proposed that the debt be paid off by our delivering an airship built to the latest standards. And since the American military had shown more than lively interest in our most recent model, which had a capacity of seventy thousand cubic meters of helium, the horse trading worked. LZ-126 was to be flown to Lakehurst, New Jersey, and presented to the Americans upon landing.

Many of us looked upon that as a disgrace. I did. Hadn't we been humiliated enough at Versailles? Hadn't the enforced peace placed a heavy enough burden on the Fatherland? We-that is, several of us-toyed with the thought of undermining the sordid deal. Only after long inner turmoil was I able to discern anything positive in the undertaking, and not until I had expressly promised Dr. Eckener, whom we all respected as our captain and an honest man, that I had given up any idea of sabotage was I allowed to take part.

LZ-126 was so stunning I can picture her even today. Yet at first, while we were still above the European continent, only fifty meters above the saddles of the Côte-d'Or, I was still obsessed with the idea of destroying her. Though designed to provide luxurious accommodation for two dozen, she had no passengers aboard, only a few American military personnel who kept a sharp eye on us round the clock. But when we hit some strong downdrafts over the Spanish coast at Cape Ortegal and the ship started swaying so violently that all hands were occupied keeping her on course and the Americans had to turn to matters of navigation, a takeover would have been possible. All we would have had to do was force an early landing by pitching a few fuel containers overboard. I was tempted again when the Azores lay beneath us. Indeed, day and night I sought opportunities, suffering doubt and temptation. Even when we climbed two thousand meters over the Newfoundland fog or shortly thereafter, when a stay snapped during a storm, I harbored thoughts of averting the imminent ignominy. But thoughts they remained.

What held me back? Certainly not fear. During the war I had been exposed to mortal danger over London whenever the searchlights reached our airship. No, I knew no fear. The only thing that kept me from acting was Dr. Eckener's will. Although I could not share his conviction-namely, that in the face of the victors' despotism it was our duty to give proof of German productivity in the form of our shiny, silver, celestial cigar-in the end I bowed totally to his will, for a piddling, merely symbolic, as it were, breakdown would have made little or no impression, especially as the Americans had sent two cruisers to meet us and we were in constant radio contact with them: they would have come to our aid had we had an emergency, whether a strong headwind or the slightest hint of sabotage.

Only now can I see how right I was to renounce all attempts at an "act of liberation," but even then, when the LZ-126 drew close to New York, when the Statue of Liberty greeted us through the mist of the morning of 15 October, when we headed up the bay and the metropolis with its mountain chain of skyscrapers lay beneath us and the boats in the harbor welcomed us with their sirens, when we flew the entire length of Broadway, back and forth, twice, at middle altitude, then rose up to three thousand meters to give all the inhabitants of New York a chance to admire German productivity sparkling in the morning sun, and when we finally headed for Lakehurst and made ourselves presentable, washing and shaving with the last of our water supply, I felt proud, unrestrainedly proud.

Later, when the sad delivery ceremony was over and our pride and joy was rechristened the Los Angeles, Dr. Eckener thanked me and told me that he had experienced the same turmoil as I. "But one's inner swinish tendencies are easier to resist," he said, "than the inborn commandment to maintain one's dignity and achieve results." I wonder what he felt when thirteen years later the finest expression of the Reich restored, the Hindenburg, powered unfortunately by flammable hydrogen rather than helium, went up in flames upon landing at Lakehurst. Was he as certain as I that it was sabotage? It was the Reds! They didn't hold back. Their dignity hinged on another commandment.

Translated by Michael Henry Heim

© Steidl Verlag Göttingen 1993
English translation copyright © 2004 by William Martin
English translation copyright © 2004 by Philip Boehm
English translation copyright © 2004 by Charles Simic

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

CONTENTS

When the LZ-126 Drew Close to New York (from MY CENTURY)

The Stockturm. Long-Distance Song Effects (from THE TIN DRUM)

In the Tunnel

Nursery Rhyme

By the Time the War Broke Out (from CAT AND MOUSE)

Execution on the Playground (from MY CENTURY)

Roll Your Own

There Was Once a City (from DOG YEARS)

Dixieland! (from MY CENTURY)

A Look Back at The Tin Drum, or: The Author as Dubious Witness

Two Left-handers

When the Wall Went Up

Operation Travel Bureau (from MY CENTURY)

I Like Riding the Escalator

On Writers as Court Jesters and on Non-existent Courts

Literature and Politics

A Father's Difficulties in Explaining Auschwitz to His Children

When Father Wanted to Remarry

Isn't It Nice to Be Rich and Famous? (from FROM THE DIARY OF A SNAIL)

A Call to the Special Unit (from MY CENTURY)

Police Radio

Israel and Me

Immured

By a Rough Estimate

Askesis

But What Is My Stone? (from HEADBIRTHS OR THE GERMANS ARE DYING OUT)

The Stone

The Artist's Freedom of Opinion in Our Society

The Last Meal (from THE FLOUNDER)

Literature and Myth

The Hare and the Hedgehog

The Destruction of Mankind Has Begun

In Posthuman Times (from THE RAT)

Bikini Atoll

Berlin-A Projected Fiction

Alexander and Alexandra (from THE CALL OF THE TOAD)

Madness! Sheer Madness! (from MY CENTURY)

The Wallpeckers (from TOO FAR AFIELD)

My Old Olivetti

Willy Brandt at the Warsaw Ghetto

Obituary for Helen Wolff

Literature and History

To Be Continued...

In the Midst of Life

I remember...

Kleckerburg

When Time Had Run Out (from CRABWALK)

After Midnight

Tango Nocturno

Tango Mortale

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

WHEN THE LZ-126 DREW CLOSE
TO NEW YORK

from MY CENTURY (1999)

THE DATE COLUMBUS WEIGHED ANCHOR WAS THE DATE we chose. Columbus set sail from Genoa in 1492, heading for India, though in fact he landed in America; our venture, our more accurate instruments notwithstanding, was every bit as risky. The dirigible was actually ready on the morning of the eleventh: it lay in its open hangar with precisely calculated quantities of fuel for the five Maybach engines and water for ballast on board; the ground crew had ropes in hand. But the LZ-126 refused to float: it was heavy and remained so because a layer of fog and warm air masses had suddenly rolled in and settled over the entire Lake Constance region. Since we could not spare either water or fuel, we had to postpone the takeoff until the following morning. The jeering crowd was hard to bear. We did take off on the twelfth, however.

Twenty-two men strong. For a long time it was touch and go whether I would be allowed to serve as mechanic:
I was one of the ones who by way of national protest had destroyed the last four military airships waiting in Friedrichshafen to be delivered up to the enemy, just as more than seventy ships from our fleet-including a dozen battleships and regular-service ships due to be handed over to the English-were scuttled by our own people in July 1919 at Scapa Flow. The Allies promptly demanded compensation; the Americans alone wanted us to cough up three million gold marks. But then the Zeppelin people proposed that the debt be paid off by our delivering an airship built to the latest standards. And since the American military had shown more than lively interest in our most recentmodel, which had a capacity of seventy thousand cubic meters of helium, the horse trading worked. LZ-126 was to be flown to Lakehurst, New Jersey, and presented to the Americans upon landing.

Many of us looked upon that as a disgrace. I did. Hadn't we been humiliated enough at Versailles? Hadn't the enforced peace placed a heavy enough burden on the Fatherland? We-that is, several of us-toyed with the thought of undermining the sordid deal. Only after long inner turmoil was I able to discern anything positive in the undertaking, and not until I had expressly promised Dr. Eckener, whom we all respected as our captain and an honest man, that I had given up any idea of sabotage was I allowed to take part.

LZ-126 was so stunning I can picture her even today. Yet at first, while we were still above the European continent, only fifty meters above the saddles of the Côte-d'Or, I was still obsessed with the idea of destroying her. Though designed to provide luxurious accommodation for two dozen, she had no passengers aboard, only a few American military personnel who kept a sharp eye on us round the clock. But when we hit some strong downdrafts over the Spanish coast at Cape Ortegal and the ship started swaying so violently that all hands were occupied keeping her on course and the Americans had to turn to matters of navigation, a takeover would have been possible. All we would have had to do was force an early landing by pitching a few fuel containers overboard. I was tempted again when the Azores lay beneath us. Indeed, day and night I sought opportunities, suffering doubt and temptation. Even when we climbed two thousand meters over the Newfoundland fog or shortly thereafter, when a stay snapped during a storm, I harbored thoughts of averting the imminent ignominy. But thoughts they remained.

What held me back? Certainly not fear. During the war I had been exposed to mortal danger over London whenever the searchlights reached our airship. No, I knew no fear. The only thing that kept me from acting was Dr. Eckener's will. Although I could not share his conviction-namely, that in the face of the victors' despotism it was our duty to give proof of German productivity in the form of our shiny, silver, celestial cigar-in the end I bowed totally to his will, for a piddling, merely symbolic, as it were, breakdown would have made little or no impression, especially as the Americans had sent two cruisers to meet us and we were in constant radio contact with them: they would have come to our aid had we had an emergency, whether a strong headwind or the slightest hint of sabotage.

Only now can I see how right I was to renounce all attempts at an "act of liberation," but even then, when the LZ-126 drew close to New York, when the Statue of Liberty greeted us through the mist of the morning of 15 October, when we headed up the bay and the metropolis with its mountain chain of skyscrapers lay beneath us and the boats in the harbor welcomed us with their sirens, when we flew the entire length of Broadway, back and forth, twice, at middle altitude, then rose up to three thousand meters to give all the inhabitants of New York a chance to admire German productivity sparkling in the morning sun, and when we finally headed for Lakehurst and made ourselves presentable, washing and shaving with the last of our water supply, I felt proud, unrestrainedly proud.

Later, when the sad delivery ceremony was over and our pride and joy was rechristened the Los Angeles, Dr. Eckener thanked me and told me that he had experienced the same turmoil as I. "But one's inner swinish tendencies are easier to resist," he said, "than the inborn commandment to maintain one's dignity and achieve results." I wonder what he felt when thirteen years later the finest expression of the Reich restored, the Hindenburg, powered unfortunately by flammable hydrogen rather than helium, went up in flames upon landing at Lakehurst. Was he as certain as I that it was sabotage? It was the Reds! They didn't hold back. Their dignity hinged on another commandment.

Translated by Michael Henry Heim

© Steidl Verlag Göttingen 1993
English translation copyright © 2004 by William Martin
English translation copyright © 2004 by Philip Boehm
English translation copyright © 2004 by Charles Simic

All rights reserved.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)