Wir leben im Ei.
Die Innenseite der Schale
haben wir mit unanständigen Zeichnungen
und den Vornamen unserer Feinde bekritzelt.
Wir werden gebrütet.
Wer uns auch brütet,
unseren Bleistift brütet er mit.
Ausgeschlüpft eines Tages,
werden wir uns sofort
ein Bildnis des Brütenden machen.
Wir nehmen an, daß wir gebrütet werden.
Wir stellen uns ein gutmütiges Geflügel vor
und schreiben Schulaufsätze
über Farbe und Rasse
der uns brütenden Henne.
Wann schlüpfen wir aus?
Unsere Propheten im Ei
streiten sich für mittelmäßige Bezahlung
über die Dauer der Brutzeit.
Sie nehmen einen Tag X an.
Aus Langeweile und echtem Bedürfnis
haben wir Brutkästen erfunden.
Wir sorgen uns sehr um unseren Nachwuchs im Ei.
Gerne würden wir jener, die über uns wacht,
unser Patent empfehlen.
Wir aber haben ein Dach überm Kopf.
Embryos mit Sprachkenntnissen
reden den ganzen Tag
und besprechen noch ihre Träume.
Und wenn wir nun nicht gebrütet werden?
Wenn diese Schale niemals ein Loch bekommt?
Wenn unser Horizont nur der Horizont
unserer Kritzeleien ist und auch bleiben wird?
Wir hoffen, daß wir gebrütet werden.
Wenn wir auch nur noch vom Brüten reden,
bleibt doch zu befürchten, daß jemand,
außerhalb unserer Schale, Hunger verspürt,
uns in die Pfanne haut und mit Salz bestreut. –
Was machen wir dann, ihr Brüder im Ei?
Wir leben im Ei.
† 13.04.2015, Lübeck, Germany
Günter Grass was born on October 16, 1927, in what was then the "Free City of Danzig". After attending elementary school and high school, he registered voluntarily for the submarine force, as he confessed in his 2006 memoir "Beim Häuten der Zwiebel" ("Skinning the Onion"). But since the submarine force no longer accepted anyone, he was called up to join the Waffen-SS in Dresden in 1944. At the end of the Second World War, Grass was taken prisoner by the US-American troops, but was released in 1946. After working as a farmhand and in a lime mine, he began an apprenticeship with a stonemason in Düsseldorf in 1947. He then studied graphic art and sculpture at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art from 1948 to 1952. From 1953 to 1956 he continued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin as a student of the sculptor Karl Hartung.
In 1958, Grass reads the first chapter of his as yet unpublished novel at the annual meeting of "Gruppe 47", and this reading makes the previously largely unknown 32-year-old author suddenly famous. Publishers vie for the unfinished manuscript. Until 1958 he wrote mainly short prose, poems and plays, but in 1959 his novel Die Blechtrommel (en: The Tin Drum, 1959) was not only his overnight literary breakthrough, but also his immediate inclusion in the international literary canon of the day. The story of Oskar Matzerath, an oddball of small stature, set in Gdansk, together with the novella Katz und Maus (1961, en: Cat and Mouse, 1963) and the novel Hundejahre (1963, en: Dog Years, 1965), form the so-called Danzig Trilogy.
From 1960 Grass lived again in Berlin-Friedenau. In his first marriage, which lasted until 1972 and was divorced in 1978, he became father of four children.
The 1979 film version of The Tin Drum by Volker Schlöndorff, in whose screenplay Grass himself also participated, received, among others, the "Golden Bowl" of the German Federal Film Award, the "Golden Palm" of the Cannes Film Festival and the "Academy Award" ("Oscar").
Throughout his life, Grass is not only one of the most important German-language authors, but also an important figure in the public life of the Federal Republic due to his political commitment. Other important novels and stories by the author include Der Butt (1977, en: The Flounder, 1978), Die Rättin (1986, en: The Rat, 1987) and Beim Häuten der Zwiebel (2006, en: Peeling the Onion, 2007). His books have been translated into numerous languages. In addition to his work as a writer, Grass continues to work as a sculptor, painter and graphic artist.
In 1972 Grass moves into the house in Wewelsfleth in Schleswig-Holstein, which he will give to the Berlin Senate decades later as a place for residency grants in the Alfred Döblin House. In 1979 Grass marries the organist Ute Grunert. Together with her, Günter Grass lives in India from August 1986 to January 1987. The following year he publishes Zunge zeigen. A diary in drawings, which captures the time in India. In 1995 Grass moves to Lübeck.
In 1999 Günter Grass is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for his life's work.
Although Grass's affiliation with the Waffen-SS, which he only made public in 2006, leads to a heated public debate, the recognition of his rank as an author remains largely unaffected by this discussion.
On April 13, 2015, Günter Grass died in Lübeck at the age of 87.
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