The Communicative Event in the Works of Günter Grass
Title Details

1st February 2018

306 Pages

22.86 x 15.24 cm

Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture

Imprint: Camden House

The Communicative Event in the Works of Günter Grass

Stages of Speech, 1959-2015

by Nicole Thesz

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
A major contribution to Grass scholarship that looks at his career as a whole and identifies four phases or stages of his writing in terms of communicative strategy and style.
Nobel-laureate novelist and public intellectual Günter Grass was a towering figure among German writers and social critics from the 1950s until his death in 2015. After rising to prominence with the novel The Tin Drum (1959), he assumed the role of the conscience of the German nation. He sustained that position throughout his life despite multiple controversies, particularly the revelation, in his 2006 autobiography Peeling the Onion, of hisbrief service in the Waffen SS, and the 2012 publication of his poem "What Must Be Said," which sharply criticized Israel.
This monograph argues that the ethos of "speaking out" is fundamental to Grass's life and work. His approach to the dynamics and manifestations of speech acts has been marginalized in Grass criticism, but is crucial to understanding his fiction. Looking back at Grass's career, this book identifies four phases in terms of communicative strategy and style. Whereas the Danzig trilogy abounds in judgmental and oppressive speech acts, the mid-career novels express the writer's hopes of using dialogue in support of democracy. In turn, the fall of the Berlin Wallinspired novels that feature critical conversations on memory culture amid German unification and the upheaval of the 1990s. Finally, the late autobiographies reveal a search for the private and political self in meditative, internalized monologues about a life lived in language.

Nicole A. Thesz is Associate Professor of German at Miami University, Ohio.
Introduction
Die Blechtrommel: The Language of Judgment
Katz und Maus: Empty Words and Dangerous Rhetoric
Hundejahre: Between Revelation and Obfuscation
Örtlich betäubt: Student Protest and Pedagogical Dialogue
Aus dem Tagebuch einer Schnecke: Family Conversations and Political Speech
Der Butt: The Struggle for Communicative Dominance
Das Treffen in Telgte: Debates in a Literary Forum
Die Rättin: Existence and Speech after Apocalypse
Unkenrufe: East-West Exchanges and the Remembrance Business
Ein weites Feld: Rhetorical Performance in the New Berlin
Mein Jahrhundert: An Exercise in Oral History
Im Krebsgang: Facing a Discourse of Hatred
Beim Häuten der Zwiebel: Dialogues with Memory
Die Box: Conversations around the Family Album
Grimms Wörter: Deliberations on Language and Legacy
Epilogue: Taking Leave in Vonne Endlichkait
Notes
Bibliography
Index
"[T]he first sustained exploration of the representation of dialogue and communication across [Grass's] career. . . . The focus on communication helps Thesz interrogate the hierarchies and power imbalances implicit in Grass's work, including gender dynamics [and] allows for an examination of how Grass's texts relate to the evolving public sphere. . . . Thesz has ambitiously produced thoughtful, close readings of sixteen literary texts." GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW
"Thesz's knowledge of Grass's oeuvre is impressive, and the book contributes a new perspective to scholarship by considering all the major works together." CHOICE

Hardcover

9781571139566

Buy

£75.00 / $90.00

Shipping Options

Buy

Buy

Purchasing options are not available in this country.

Ebook (EPDF)

9781787441743

Buy

£19.99 / $24.99

Shipping Options

Buy

Buy

Purchasing options are not available in this country.

Title Details

1st February 2018

306 Pages

2.286 x 1.524 cm

Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture

Imprint: Camden House