Grass, Günter

(1927- )
   Playwright. Grass was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1999 and is best known for his novels, but he wrote plays in the 1950s and 1960s. His short plays included Hochwasser (High Water, premiered in Frankfurt am Main, 1957); Onkel, Onkel (English title: Mister, Mister, Cologne, 1958) in; Noch zehn Minuten bis Buffalo (Ten Minutes to Buffalo, Bochum, 1959); and his full length, three-act Die bösen Köche (The Wicked Cooks, 1961), which premiered in the Workshop of the Schiller Theater in Berlin, as did Davor (English title: Max, a Play) in 1969.
   By far his most frequently performed play, however, was Die Plebejer proben den Aufstand (The Plebians Rehearse the Uprising, 1966), premiered likewise at the Schiller Theater Workshop. It examined the role of Bertolt Brecht in the 1953 workers' uprising against the Communist regime of the German Democratic Republic. The play depicted Brecht (called "The Boss") staging a scene from his adaptation of William Shakespeare's Coriolanus on the afternoon of 17 June, the day Russian troops killed scores of German workers in the streets of East Berlin and in the process destroyed the East German regime's credibility beyond repair. Demonstrators disrupt the rehearsal and ask Brecht to write a public declaration of his support of their uprising. Brecht declines to do so (in fact, Brecht wrote a letter of public support for the East German regime against the workers) and tells the demonstrators that he believes their revolt is pointless. He then dismisses the demonstrators as cowards, telling them they lack "even the courage to step on the lawn." (Brecht's private diaries reveal that he was contemptuous of workers generally, despite his declaration of loyalty to the "workers' state." See his Arbeitsjournal, ed. Werner Hecht [Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1973], 2:1010.) In the play, Brecht asks the demonstrators to remain in the theater, where unbeknownst to them, he records their responses to his provocations and insults on a tape recorder. He later plays back their responses for the purpose of using their uprising in his Shakespeare adaptation. When he learns that they have been killed in demonstrations outside, Brecht realizes his failure and supposedly plans to resign. In reality, Brecht did no such thing, of course, later accepting the Stalin Peace Prize. But Grass wanted to portray Brecht as a "typical" German intellectual who in most cases refuses to involve himself in politics. The play met with mixed reviews but was performed in numerous German theaters thereafter.
   Grass has been awarded dozens of prizes and awards, among them the Büchner Prize, the Fontane Prize, the Premio Internazionale Mondello (1977), the Alexander-Majakowski Medal from his native Danzig (now Gdaüsk), the Antonio Feltrinelli Prize (1982), and the Grand Literature Prize of the Bavarian Academy, along with honorary doctorates from Kenyon College, Harvard University, and the universities of Gdansk and Poznan.

Historical dictionary of German Theatre. . 2006.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Grass, Günter — ▪ German writer in full  Günter Wilhelm Grass  born Oct. 16, 1927, Danzig [now Gdańsk, Pol.]    German poet, novelist, playwright, sculptor, and printmaker who, with his extraordinary first novel Die Blechtrommel (1959; The Tin Drum), became the… …   Universalium

  • Grass, Gunter — (10/16/1927 Danzig ) (Germany)    Graphic artist and writer. Best known as a novelist, he was also an accomplished artist. He is known to have created several erotic prints.    Source: Mitsuo Iiyoshi, [ From kitchen to bedroom: Gunter Grass s… …   Dictionary of erotic artists: painters, sculptors, printmakers, graphic designers and illustrators

  • Grass, Günter — ► (n. 1927) Poeta, novelista y dramaturgo alemán. Obras: El tambor de hojalata (1959), Años de perro (1963), La Ratera (1988), Malos presagios (1992), Madera muerta (1992), Es cuento largo (1997) y A paso de cangrejo (2002). Como autor teatral,… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Grass, Gunter Wilhelm — ▪ 1996       In 1995 Günter Grass, Germany s best known living author, published Ein weites Feld ( A Broad Field ), an ambitious novel dealing with German reunification. The work became an instant best seller, as much for the fierce controversy… …   Universalium

  • Grass, Günter (Wilhelm) — (n. 16 oct. 1927, Danzig, Polonia). Novelista, poeta y dramaturgo alemán. Grass participó en la juventud hitleriana, se alistó a los 16 años y, herido en combate, fue hecho prisionero de guerra. Su extraordinaria primera novela, El tambor de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Grass, Günter (Wilhelm) — born Oct. 16, 1927, Danzig German novelist, poet, and playwright. Grass was involved in the Hitler Youth, was drafted at age 16 and wounded in battle, and became a prisoner of war. His extraordinary first novel, The Tin Drum (1959), brought him… …   Universalium

  • Grass — Grass, Günter …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Günter Grass — Günter Grass, 2004 Günter Grass (* 16. Oktober 1927 in Danzig Langfuhr, Freie Stadt Danzig) ist ein deutscher Schriftsteller, Bildhauer, Maler und Grafiker mit kaschubischen Vorfahren. Grass war Mitglied der Gruppe 47 und gilt als ei …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Günter Graß — Günter Grass (* 16. Oktober 1927 in Danzig Langfuhr) ist ein deutscher Schriftsteller, Bildhauer, Maler und Grafiker mit kaschubischen Vorfahren. Grass war Mitglied der Gruppe 47 und gilt als einer der bedeutendsten deutschsprachigen Autoren der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Günter Grass — en octubre de 2004 …   Wikipedia Español

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