Thursday, May 19

Quotes from Nobel Prize-winning writer, Günter Grass

SPIEGEL: What are the characteristics of a good cover?

Grass: It should summarize and simplify the content of the book like an emblem. On the cover of "Dog Years," this is achieved with the dog's head, which looks like a finger puppet from a shadow play. For "Local Anesthetic," I chose a lighter with a finger above it.

SPIEGEL: You aren't the only writer of your generation who has made political statements again and again. Do you perceive a lack of similar vigor among your young fellow writers?

Grass: I would find it regrettable if they didn't draw a lesson from this relatively brief tradition. They shouldn't repeat the mistakes of the Weimar Republic and withdraw into their private worlds. Intellectuals contributed greatly to the development of our fledgling democracy in West Germany into a grown-up democracy. Unfortunately, there are signs that this contribution is waning. The financial crisis, child poverty, deportation (of illegal immigrants), the growing gap between rich and poor: these are all issues where younger authors should develop and express an opinion.

Portrait of Günter Grass. Image: NCMallory

Source: excerpts from a recent Der Spiegel interview with one of my favourite writers, Günter Grass.

Grass (born 1927) is a German writer and former WW2 soldier.  He is also an artist and sculptor, and produced his own cover art.  He is known for his left-wing political activism.  He has written many novels and short stories, with the best known being his Danzig Trilogy of novels.