Since the Gunter Grass dustup has not found its way into the dotCom space, I thought I’d link to a piece in today’s New York Times. The author concludes his reflections with these words:
involvement in the Nazi system, even among the youngest Germans of
the time, was more widespread than we have previously wanted to
perceive, and many aspects of the era’s crimes even now lie buried in
silence. They are crimes that few books chronicle so well as “The Tin
Drum,” “Cat and Mouse” and “Dog Years.”
Later, Mr. Grass
changed, and his novels changed, too, becoming didactic and colorless.
These weaker books, along with the image of the model democratic
author, will be effaced by the passage of time. His earlier novels,
however, which tell of the deep corruptibility of human beings, of the
coexistence of mendacity and greatness and of the infinitely complex
nature of guilt, will be with us for as long as people read books.
That last sentence strikes me as a pretty fair sketch of “original sin.”