One in all his newest books, printed in 2018, is entitled Ich Würde Heute Ungern Sterben (“I Would not Wish to Die At the moment”). This nose-thumbing at dying didn’t forestall the latter’s zeal, which caught up with the German author Martin Walser in Uberlingen, Germany, on Friday, July 28. He was 96 years outdated. However the provocative spirit of this excellent stylist had, for over 60 years, “left a decisive mark on German literature,” within the phrases of the tribute paid to him by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the president of the Federal Republic of Germany. Typically satirically, his works – novels, essays, and performs – reveal the anxieties of middle-class individuals caught between the advantages of German financial prosperity and a nagging sense of private failure. A world he knew effectively as a result of it was his personal.
Walser was born on March 24, 1927, in Wasserburg am Bodensee, south of Germany, a area he had by no means left. He had been dwelling in Uberlingen for the reason that Nineteen Sixties. The son of an innkeeper, he was orphaned by his father on the age of 10. Recollections of this childhood are recalled in Ein springender Brunnen (“A gushing fountain”), a novel through which Walser not solely recounts tales of his childhood but additionally the rise and fall of the Third Reich.
As an adolescent throughout World Battle II, he served in air protection. In line with paperwork within the Nazi celebration’s central file, he joined the celebration on January 30, 1944. Nonetheless, this by no means introduced him the identical setbacks as Günter Grass (1927-2015), who was precisely the identical age and likewise joined the armed companies earlier than being assigned to an anti-aircraft battery as a Luftwaffe auxiliary. Little question Grass had waited too lengthy, till 2006, to make this popping out. He had, till then, introduced himself an excessive amount of as a lesson-giver. Walser, alternatively, was by no means attacked on the topic. He had all the time denied being a Nazi.
Authoritative thesis on Kafka
In 1947, at age 20, he started finding out literature, historical past, and philosophy in Regensburg, Bavaria, and later in Tübingen. On the similar time, from 1949 onwards, he labored as a reporter and editor for the Süddeutscher Rundfunk radio station in Stuttgart. In 1952, he defended an authoritative thesis on Kafka when the writer was nonetheless removed from widespread.
In 1953, he grew to become one of many youngest members of Group 47 – named after the group’s first assembly in Munich in 1947. It was a literary think-tank grouped round author Hans Werner Richter (1908-1993), which referred to as for “new technique of type, fashion, and literature.”
In 1957, his first novel Marriage in Philippsburg was an enormous success. In a brand new period the place the financial miracle has repressed the reminiscence of Nazi barbarism, younger journalist Hans Beumann finds himself frolicking in a world the place the necessary matter is to make a profession and flaunt success by exhibiting off what one has acquired: Cash, homes, mistresses. With this novel, the hardly 30-year-old author painted a masterly portrait of the younger German Federal Republic and its variable-geometry morality. The guide shortly grew to become one of many nice novels of the post-war interval, alongside The Hothouse by Wolfgang Koeppen, Billiards at Half-Previous 9 by Heinrich Böll, and Grass’ The Tin Drum.
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