CFP: Gunter Grass in International Perspective (UK) (12/31/06; 9/5/07-9/7/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Rebecca Braun

Changing the Nation: Günter Grass in International Perspective

An International Conference at the University of Liverpool, UK
5-7 September 2007

Confirmed speakers: Avi Primor (Israeli Ambassador to the FRG, 1993-99) Patrick
O'Neill (Queen's, Canada), Krishna Winston (Wesleyan, US) Michael Minden
(Cambridge, UK), Julian Preece (Kent, UK), Karen Leeder (Oxford, UK), Volker
Neuhaus (Cologne, Germany)

Ever since the publication of Die Blechtrommel in 1959, Grass has exerted a
powerful influence over contemporary debates shaping the post-war German
nation. While his first novel was initially valued in Germany for its
contribution to literary developments, its significance abroad was distinctly
political: it was widely hailed as the German book that broke the collective
silence of Grass's compatriots on their National Socialist past. Over the
course of his career, Grass has repeatedly built on this two-pronged success,
becoming recognised both at home and abroad as Germany's leading international
writer and intellectual. His prominent position has always involved controversy
- as most recently demonstrated by the outcry occasioned by his 2006
autobiographical revelations. Yet at the same time the doors that his fame has
opened across the world have allowed him to break out of the narrowly
nationalistic framework of his youth and bring to his German subject matter
ideas and techniques that transcend simple national boundaries.

This conference focuses for the first time on what exactly it has meant for
Grass to be an international author and intellectual, how his work has engaged
with and impacted on debates outside Germany, and what influence these debates
have had on his standing and his work back home. Showcasing German Studies
particularly in the UK and US, we explore how changing the national context in
which Grass is discussed can provide a valuable angle on his repeated efforts
to change the German nation as both a political and a cultural entity.
Potential speakers are invited to examine Grass and his oeuvre from three main

1. Provenance
How has Grass come to reach national and international standing? Where might we
place his roots, both cultural/literary and biographical/political? What about
the impact of his own migration from Danzig/Gdañsk, his claim in the 1990
speech 'Schreiben nach Auschwitz' that the Holocaust has always functioned as
the pivotal reference point for his work, and his 1992 reference to 'Verlust
als Voraussetzung für Literatur'?

2. Transmission
How has Grass acted as a political and cultural mediator, bringing German
literature and German debate to the world – and vice-versa? How has Grass acted
as a partner in dialogue for intellectuals abroad (Kenzaburô Ôe, Pavel Kohout,
Françoise Giroud, Yoram Kaniuk, Helen Wolff)? Can we discern a particularly
international style, themes (e.g. travel, cultural exchange) or outlook that
reflect Grass's international standing? What about Grass's writing in

3. Reception
What has Grass's impact been on international literature (Kurt Vonnegut, Lobo
Antunes, Nadine Gordimer, Gabriel García Márquez, Salman Rushdie, John Irving
all acknowledge debts) and on international politics? What impact has
international recognition had on Grass's own work and its reception in Germany?

Proposals (300 words) for 25-minute papers exploring any of the themes outlined
above or related aspects should be e-mailed to the conference co-ordinators by
31 December 2006:

Dr Frank Brunssen (, Dr Rebecca Braun

For abstracts from confirmed speakers and further conference details, please see

--Dr Rebecca Braun (nee Beard)Honorary Research FellowSchool of Modern Languages (German)University of LiverpoolLiverpoolL69 7ZR ========================================================== From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List Full Information at or write Jennifer Higginbotham: ==========================================================Received on Wed Nov 08 2006 - 12:15:16 EST