n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Grass und Walser und ihre Polemik in der Vereinigungsdebatte : Germanistik im Ausland

Volume 29, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1273



The unification of Germany in 1990 was preceded by a public debate about its political desirability and moral justification; Grass and Walser participated prominently. Grass believed that yet another attempt to unify Germany was both harmful and inappropriate. Walser claimed that unification was both necessary and timely; he yearned for an object of his sense of national belonging. The two writers often directed their polemical arguments against each other, explicitly or implicitly. Since the polemical formulation of their arguments impeded any detailed critical consideration, the debate suffered from serious deficits. However, it also revealed the positions of both writers exceptionally well: While Grass steadfastly insisted on his enlightened rationality, pushing its application to reality to extremes, Walser's polemics revealed both a new emotionalism and an outspoken anti-intellectualism. His desire to liberate himself from a united Germany's recent past ignores the continuing suffering of the victims.

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