The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Gunter Grass’

“The Inventiveness of the Writer,” and Other News

April 13, 2015 | by


Günter Grass in 2010.

  • Günter Grass, best known for his novel The Tin Drum, has died at eighty-seven. “Grass learned a lot from Rabelais and Celine and was influential in development of ‘magic realism’ and Marquez,” Orhan Pamuk said about him. “He taught us to base the story on the inventiveness of the writer no matter how cruel, harsh, and political the story is.”
  • Joseph Mitchell was on staff at The New Yorker for decades—and yet the magazine has suspiciously few of his bylines. What was he doing all that time? “Mitchell had no idea he was embarking on one of the most celebrated writer’s blocks in American letters. In fact, at the time he was juggling a variety of ideas, hoping—assuming—that in his reporting one of them would logically emerge as his next New Yorker piece.”
  • Distracted? Of course you are—this is 2015. It’s in the nature of contemporary society “to manipulate our attention and to profit others … repetitive pseudo-actions create patterns of satisfaction that progressively disconnect us from the world.” And for this preponderance of pseudo-actions we can blame one Immanuel Kant, whose “insistence on autonomy … reads as a denial of mutual entanglement.”
  • Toby Barlow on Derek Walcott and Star Trek: “If any other show had as many scenes in an elevator as Star Trek did, we would have talked about it, complained about it.”
  • On the Anderson Valley Advertiser, which dubs itself “America’s last newspaper” and reads like “Our Town on bad Mendo meth, a Norman Rockwell scene painted in the midst of a weed-wine binge and given a makeover by Hunter S. Thompson.”

A Sensual Act

October 16, 2014 | by


From Die Vorzüge der Windhühner (The Advantages of Windfowl), 1956.

I started writing and drawing at an early age … My first book was a book of poetry and drawings. Invariably the first drafts of my poems combine drawings and verse, sometimes taking off from an image, sometimes from words … 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.
—Günter Grass, the Art of Fiction No. 124, 1991

That “first book” Günter Grass refers to is Die Vorzüge der Windhühner (The Advantages of Windfowl), from 1956; Princeton’s Graphic Arts Collection has a few of the lithographs on their site. As Martin Esslin writes, “It is hard to tell whether the poems are there to illustrate the drawings, or the drawings to illustrate the poems”—which accords with Grass’s fairly circular description of his process. Here’s another:Read More »


Rejections, Slush, and Turkeys: Happy Monday!

April 16, 2012 | by

  • Dora Saint, the (wonderfully named) author of the bucolic “Miss Read” novels, has died at age ninety-eight.
  • Trouble in Riverdale: the New York Times details the battle for Archie’s soul.
  • Unless you want it doused in liquor, don’t have F. Scott Fitzgerald cook your turkey.
  • In light of Günter Grass’s recent clash with Israel, Dave Eggers is declining to travel to Germany and accept an award from the Günter Grass foundation. Not in protest of the author’s poem "What Must Be Said" but, rather, because "in light of the recent debate, he would be forced into commenting, endlessly and needlessly, on Grass and Israel and Iran, when the purpose of his visit was supposed to be about discussing his book Zeitoun, and the plight of Americans during and after Hurricane Katrina,” according to the Wylie Agency. This is controversial.
  • If you want to get the writer’s experience, try the rejection generator.
  • From the other side of the desk? Get a taste of what editors receive in unsolicited slush piles.
  • The eternal question: Kool Keith or James Joyce?

    The Smell of Books; the Power of ‘Wuthering Heights’

    April 12, 2012 | by

  • The Department of Justice is suing several large publishers, plus Apple, for alleged price collusion on e-books.
  • How not to squander a book advance: a primer from Emily Gould. (Hint: leather vests don’t count as investments, whatever the lady at the shop may say.)
  • Meanwhile at the Awl: how not to ruin a book tour. Servicey!
  • Wuthering Heights … home of wind turbines? Concerns over wind farms in Brontë country.
  • While rhapsodizing about the “smell of books” is something of a personal peeve, this video, in which University College London chemists analyze the distinctive perfume, is interesting. Apparently, the bouquet is “a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness.”
  • Welcome to the Storyverse.
  • Günter Grass speaks out on his ban from Israel.

    Smokable Songbooks, Controversial Vodka

    April 9, 2012 | by

  • Lindsay Gibbs’s Titanic: The Tennis Story recounts how tennis players and Titanic passengers Dick Williams and Karl Behr met on a rescue ship and went on to become Davis Cup partners—as historical fiction. Unfortunately, the subjects’ descendants aren’t thrilled about the novel, particularly by the fact that the launch party will be sponsored by Iceberg Vodka. The words in poor taste were bandied.
  • Snoop Dogg has released a smokable book. That is all.
  • “The first time I went to [the British National Science Fiction Convention], all I could see was a sea of white, male faces ... I found it very disheartening, and I knew I could either go away and never go to another con or try to do something about it.”
  • After writing a poem critical of Israel, Günter Grass has been banned by that country’s Interior Minister.
  • In honor of the Mets’ fiftieth, you can get e-versions of Jimmy Breslin’s Queens-centric classics.
  • In honor of the Mets’ sweep, you can read The Paris Review interview with die-hard Mets fan P. G. Wodehouse.
  • Cartoonist Christoph Niemann draws the books on his nightstand.