Complete edition of the works of gunter grass is published

Complete edition of the works of gunter grass is published

His publisher, gerhard steidl, has once again made a big effort for the centenary writer gunter grass.

Five years after the death of the winner of the nobel prize for literature (1927-2015), who became world famous with the "tin drum" and was always politically sharply tongue in cheek, steidl is publishing a complete edition of his works for the first time. Almost everything about it is extraordinary: 24 volumes, almost 11,000 pages, a limited edition of only 1,000 copies – and all this in a bibliophile edition.

According to steidl, grass’s works have been translated into about 40 languages. The global print run is around 40 million," he. The publisher speaks of a "last hand" edition of his works. Grass himself contributed his ideas for the design, but also, made aware by readers, made corrections in his texts in collaboration with his editors until 2015.

The "neue gottinger ausgabe" (new gottinger edition) (NGA) contains all the literary works, essays and speeches authorized by grass. It is based on the 2007 gottinger edition, in which, as the director of the gunter grass-haus lubeck, jorg philipp thomsa, also says, there were "annoying errors" that have now been eliminated. The predecessors – a ten-volume edition of his works was published by luchterhand in 1987 and a study edition by steidl in the 1990s – were regarded as inadequate by literary scholars anyway.

"Grass has been an ideal book designer all his life," says steidl. "For from his first book – ‘die vorge der windhuhner’ – to his last book ‘vonne endlichkeit’ and even to the new edition of his works, he has given advice as an author, as a reader of many books, and also as a creative visual person – to us technicians who made the books for him.And steidl remembers: "for the edition of his works, gunter grass deliberately chose a somewhat coarser typeface: ‘we must also think of the people who have glasses’"."

The extra dark french bible printing paper for the NGA was still designed by grass together with steidl. "He said that it is pleasant to read, the eyes do not tire, because it is already yellowish. And he was pleased that the paper crackles when you hold it between your fingers."

The edition of works should not be too coarse and heavy. With a paper weight of 80/90 grams, 24 bands were approximately 1.20 meters wide. "And with this fine bible printing paper of 50 grams we come to 47 centimeters width", says steidl. Space on the shelf is at a premium for every book lover, and no one wants to lug heavy books around when moving house. "Immediately before his death, i told grass about the new edition: ‘we’ll make it elegant, as light as possible, but easy to read.’"

Grass even drew his attention to the handmade wooden box for the 24 volumes – "it costs almost as much as a small table," says steidl with a laugh. He found a small workshop for it in bavaria. "Gunter grass was particularly amused by the fact that i hadn’t forgotten it."

The director of the gunter grass house in lubeck, jorg philipp thomsa, considers the master silk-screen printer steidl to be "the best bookmaker in germany" who still lives this craft and wants to preserve it. In addition to the special bibliophile design in red cloth bindings – the 2007 gottingen edition was in blue – the NGA is of great importance in literary studies.

"The new edition contains for the first time all the literary texts and ? As far as preserved and accessible ? All of gunter grass’s speeches, essays and language," emphasizes the gottingen germanist prof. Heinrich detering. "In the old ‘gottinger edition’ of 2007, not only the texts written since then are missing, but also some earlier texts. Above all, however, the rendering of the texts is unreliable in many places: patchy, even erroneous. The new edition offers grass? Complete works for the first time in carefully checked, reliable text form."

Editors are the philologists dieter stolz and werner frizen. Stolz is one of the best experts on grass? Work, said detering. He had at times worked closely with grass, for example in the research for the novel "ein weites feld", but also in the founding and editing of the literary yearbook "freipass". Frizen is already known to those who know him through his edition and commentary of, among others, the works of thomas mann, but also the poems of grass. "In the painstaking work required for such an edition, both have made the famous as well as unknown and remote texts accessible," emphasizes detering.

The gunter and ute grass foundation in lubeck, which protects the copyrights, is pleased that "a complete, thoroughly revised edition of the literary work" is now being published, "which will in the future be "the" will be a citable reference edition".

Steidl has deliberately designed the NGA without a scholarly apparatus – for the sake of light-hearted reading pleasure. In the next year, 14 commentary volumes are to appear on the entire literary oeuvre, on the rough novels as well as on the little-known theater pieces, the poems and the short prose. "For all the texts, the context of the history of their creation, their conceptions and intentions, and their critical reception will be explained," says detering. "But there are also all the clarifications of words and concepts that are necessary for an understanding of the work. In their entirety, these comments will undoubtedly be new approach to grass? Work opened ? Far beyond the familiar topics."

It seems important to detering that a new generation of younger readers is now approaching the work with a fresh perspective. "Too long is grass ? Not entirely without his own indebted ? Perceived alone as a political author, as an official admonisher and broker. The coarse poet, the artist grass has sometimes almost been forgotten. He is to be rediscovered with this edition."

The new edition of grass’s works will be permanently presented in the lubeck grass-haus, thomsa announces. Thomsa can understand that grass’s unpublished diaries are not included in the nga. Grass wrote these diaries privately and did not consider them literary works. And the gunter and ute grass foundation has decided against a publication. Steidl considers the diaries to be a genre that does not belong in the werkausgabe anyway.

In october, several events will take place in gottingen as part of the "gottinger literaturherbst" in cooperation with the university of gottingen and the steidl publishing house. An exhibition on bookmaking with grass and steidl, a colloquium to be supported primarily by young literary scholars who are currently studying grass as an author and book artist in a research project led by detering ? "In other words, with the connections between texts and their presentation in books, which grass, together with steidl, has to a certain extent designed as complete works of art," explains detering. The edition will be published on 27. October presented with a reading by the actress anna thalbach.

When asked what grass had to say about the NGA, steidl laughs and replies: "I had packed the work edition in the nice wooden box in the car and drove to him in behlendorf and put it on the small table in his workshop. And then he had rounded off a pipe, taken out the band, bladed and touched the paper and turned the cassette back and forth. And then he had – I hope and I am even quite sure – said: ‘well done, steidl!’"

Gunter grass, works. New gottinger edition in 24 volumes, edited by dieter stolz and werner frizen, 10 952 pages, 380 euro (subscription price until 16. October), from 17. October 480 euro, steidl verlag (gottingen), ISBN 978-3-95829-445-5

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