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Literature: GŁnther Grass



     WARNING: Although Hoover Archivist Elena Danielson shepherds a flock of historians professionally, she got her Ph.D. in German, with a dissertation on medieval manuscripts, whose beauty she admires. She reminds me of the character in Shaw's Saint Joan, who laments the invention of printing because it will kill those beautiful manuscripts. In the literary battle, she is the ancient, I the modern. She writes:
     I too think Grass is a good choice. He is the kind of writer one thinks of as Nobel class, like Pasternak: appreciated both by specialists and the general reading public, and still an independent voice willing to take on the toughest questions. You don't have to agree with GG to respect the way he grapples with reunification issues. But Grass would deserve the prize for Tin Drum alone. There just aren't enough writers of that caliber around to honor one every year. I hope to contribute Pasternak exhibit items to the Nobel centennial exhibition in Stockholm. Pasternak wrote a lovely short poem titled "Nobel Prize." It is worth reading for its subtlety and shading. All this said, still I enjoyed RH's comments on fiction as an archaic art form and basically a waste of time. How one wastes time is a measure of civilization.


     My comment: Elena, but I am civilized. De gustibus EST disputandum.

Ronald Hilton - 10/18/99


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