Gunter Grass Quotes

Günter Wilhelm Grass (German: [???nt? ???as]; 16 October 1927 – 13 April 2015) was a German novelist, poet, playwright, illustrator, graphic artist, sculptor, and recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature.

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Gunter Grass


My relationship with Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm reaches far back into my childhood. I grew up with Grimm's fairy tales. I even saw a theater production of 'Tom Thumb' during Advent at the State Theater in Danzig, which my mother took me to see.

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I can only write a book like 'The Tin Drum' or 'From the Diary of a Snail' at a special period of my life. The books came about because of how I felt and thought at the time.

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I had an uncle who was a postal official at the Polish post office in Gdansk. He was one of the defenders of the Polish postal service and, after it capitulated, was shot by the Germans under the provisions of martial law. Suddenly he was no longer a member of the family, and we were no longer allowed to play with his children.

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With drawing, I am acutely aware of creating something on a sheet of paper. It is a sensual act, which you cannot say about the act of writing. In fact, I often turn to drawing to recover from the writing.

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Art is uncompromising and life is full of compromises.

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I have seen and drawn dying, poisoned worlds. I published a book of drawings called 'Death of Wood' about one such world, on the border between the Federal Republic of Germany and what was then still the German Democratic Republic.

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We already have the statistics for the future: the growth percentages of pollution, overpopulation, desertification. The future is already in place.

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It is a wonderful thing in the process of writing when such paper characters are first sketched, and, when one is doing good work, from a certain point in time they come alive and start contradicting the author as well.

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As a child I was a great liar. Fortunately my mother liked my lies. I promised her marvelous things.

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I don't believe in writing at night because it comes too easily. When I read it in the morning it's not good. I need daylight to begin. Between nine and ten o'clock I have a long breakfast with reading and music.

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Believing: it means believing in our own lies. And I can say that I am grateful that I got this lesson very early.

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I was assigned to the Waffen-SS but was never involved in any crime. Besides, I always felt the need to write about my experiences in a larger context one day. This has only developed recently, now that I have overcome my inner aversion to writing an autobiography in the first place, specifically one having to do with my younger years.

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When I am working on an epic-length book, the writing process is fairly long. It takes from four to five years to get through all the drafts. The book is done when I am exhausted.

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I remember when I was writing 'The Tin Drum,' I had the totally misguided idea of giving Oskar Matzerath a sister, and he just wouldn't have it. There was no space for a sister, yet I had the character of the sister in my head. In fact I used her in later novels, in 'Cat and Mouse' and 'Dog Years,' Tulla Pokriski.

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How did it happen that an enlightened country like Germany was pulled into Nazism? That question has occupied me since 'The Tin Drum,' my first book. The story also shows that we can never know how a person's life will unfold; there is no guarantee that a person will do what is right and avoid what is not right.

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