Günter Grass

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Melancholy and utopia are heads and tails of the same coin.

Günter Wilhelm Grass (born 16 October 192713 April 2015) was a German novelist, poet, playwright, illustrator, graphic artist, sculptor and recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature. He was widely regarded as Germany's most famous recently living writer.


  • Even bad books are books, and therefore sacred.
    • The Tin Drum Book 1, "Rasputin and the Alphabet" (1959), as translated by Ralph Manheim (1961)
  • I shall speak of … how melancholy and utopia preclude one another. How they fertilize one another … Of the revulsion that follows one insight and precedes the next … Of superabundance and surfeit. Of stasis and progress. And of myself, for whom melancholy and utopia are heads and tails of the same coin.
    • "On Stasis and Progress"' in Diary of a Snail (1972)
  • We of the long tails! We of the presentient whiskers! We of the perpetually growing teeth! We, the serried footnotes to man, his proliferating commentary. We, indestructible!
    • The Rat (1986), p. 6

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