how will Günter Grass be remembered?

GRASS-articleInlineDavid L. Ulin at The LA Times:

“[W]riters,” he declared in his 1999 Nobel Prize lecture, “should consider the condition of permanent controversiality to be invigorating, part of the risk involved in choosing the profession. It is a fact of life that writers have always and with due consideration and great pleasure spit in the soup of the high and mighty. That is what makes the history of literature analogous to the development and refinement of censorship.”

Grass spent six decades operating out of such a premise, as a novelist and essayist, a playwright, artist and poet. (His final book, which has yet to appear in English, was a third volume of memoirs.) Beginning in the late 1950s, he wrote speeches for Berlin Mayor and West German Chancellor Willy Brandt; later, he was an outspoken opponent of reunification, arguing that because of its history, Germany had abdicated the right to be “strong and united.”

This sense of commitment unified his work and public posture, his stature as both artist and human being.

Or, as he explained in 1991: “Writers are involved not only with their inner, intellectual lives, but also with the process of daily life. … Both my writing and my drawing are invariably mixed up with politics, whether I want them to be or not.”

more here.