THE ""DANZIG TRILOGY"" OF GUNTER GRASS: A Study of The Tin Drum, Cat and Mouse and Dog Years by John Reddick

THE ""DANZIG TRILOGY"" OF GUNTER GRASS: A Study of The Tin Drum, Cat and Mouse and Dog Years

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KIRKUS REVIEW

If, academic-style, we were to count up Reddick's most frequently used words, high on the list would be: motif (or leitmotif), image, level, symbolic, and treatment. Also-rans: archetype, device, mimetic, sub-division. While this is not Reddick's Oxford doctoral thesis (he did that four years ago), it employs the special vocabulary of classical rhetoric to display the structure and organization of three of Gunter Grass' novels, which, as he proposes, form a trilogy. Despite the subtitle, however, this is not one but three consecutive and distinct dissections (as in dead bodies) of the Danzig books; a whole is never synthesized. While Reddick uncovers the fact that ""the theme of persecution and suffering"" characterizes all three, his conceptual reach does not stretch to a consideration of the problem of guilt in post-Nazi German literature. All of World War II seems incidental to the author's infatuation with architectural doodads. Oskar is proven to be both picaro and victim. Joachim Mahlke, the hero of Cat and Mouse (is this little novella really ""one of the most deliberately arcane works of German literature""?) is analyzed ""as a Sufferer, as a Clown and Christ figure."" Dog Years is judged a failure after an examination of Matern and Amsel as Cain and Abel. An illegitimate offspring of university scholarship.

Pub Date: May 5th, 1975
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich