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"Mich in Variationen erzählen" : Günter Grass and the ethics of autobiogaphy.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date10/2008
JournalModern Language Review
Journal number4
Volume103
Number of pages16
Pages1051-1066
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article examines Grass's 2006 autobiography Beim Häuten der Zwiebel against the background of a long career of overtly complex literary self-presentation. Its aim is twofold: to situate the autobiography as an aesthetic form within Grass's œuvre, and to use what I term Grass's much wider `autobiographical project', developed over the course of his career, to suggest that a kind of narrative ethics may in fact underlie much apparently wilful posturing in autobiographically informed literature. Using Philippe Lejeune to develop the idea of a `contractual effect' felt by author and reader, I argue that Grass draws on the autobiographical mode in order to critique contemporary reading practices.