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Constructing Authorship in the Work of Günter Grass$
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Rebecca Braun

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199542703

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199542703.001.0001

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‘Mich […] in Variationen […] erzählen’ I: Placing the Author in Aus dem Tagebuch einer Schnecke and Kopfgeburten oder Die Deutschen sterben aus

‘Mich […] in Variationen […] erzählen’ I: Placing the Author in Aus dem Tagebuch einer Schnecke and Kopfgeburten oder Die Deutschen sterben aus

Chapter:
(p.65) 3 ‘Mich […] in Variationen […] erzählen’ I: Placing the Author in Aus dem Tagebuch einer Schnecke and Kopfgeburten oder Die Deutschen sterben aus
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Constructing Authorship in the Work of Günter Grass
Author(s):

Rebecca Braun (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199542703.003.0004

This chapter makes a bridge between Grass's non-fictional and his fictional self-presentation through close-readings of two quasi-autobiographical pieces, Aus dem Tagebuch einer Schnecke (1972) and Kopfgeburten oder Die Deutschen sterben aus (1980). Drawing on Serge Doubrovsky's term ‘autofiction’ and Wolfgang Iser's idea of how literary texts perform meaning, it is argued that the particularly self-conscious literary form that Grass develops not only allows him to experiment with his own position as author within the text, but also renders problematic readings that seek to explain the texts solely through their socio-political circumstances. Taking up Grass's later reference to the autobiographical mode as a question of ‘narrating oneself in variations’ and incorporating previously undiscussed archival material, this chapter develops an understanding of literature as a space for self-invention in which the author's biographical self is suspended, or ‘encapsulated’, and the textual reality of the creative process takes over.

Keywords:   Tagebuch einer Schnecke, Kopfgeburten, Doubrovsky, Iser, autofiction, self-invention, self-presentation, autobiography

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