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Missing The Man

Misses the contradictions, especially between his politics and his poetry. Result: The Odyssey often reads like a panegyric to Grass.

Missing The Man
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553
The Tin Drummer
By Subhoranjan Dasgupta
Dasgupta and Co Pages: 91; Rs 120
Fame kills softly. It emasculates art, reducing it to innocuousness. In reading Günter Grass, especially after his 1999 Nobel, readers are in danger of missing his subversive power. Is there any escape from this prison of 'greatness'?

But Grass, best known for his shocking political allegory The Tin Drum, has that enviable asset: loyal readers who read and re-read his books to discern fresh meanings in them.

Subhoranjan Dasgupta is one such loyalist. The Tin Drummer's Odyssey, an anthology of papers, reviews and his interview after the Nobel, is his tribute to one of the greatest living writers. The essays touch upon Grass' views on India and Calcutta, they also stress his obsessive concern, as a writer and poet, with globalisation and how it is destroying Central Europe and the sub-developed East. 'Poets Pray for Peace', therefore, deserves special mention. It dwells on The Meeting at Telgate to bring to light a poet's dissenting role and juxtaposes Grass' own concerns with those of his characters.

But in his attempt to impose a unity on Grass' writing, Dasgupta often misses the contradictions, especially between his politics and his poetry. Result: The Odyssey often reads like a panegyric to Grass.

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