Günter Grass Gets Nobel Prize

German novelist Günter Grass, whose work resuscitated German literature Â"after decades of linguistic and moral destruction,Â" was awarded the 1999 Nobel Prize for literature Thursday. He is to receive a cash prize of nearly $1 million.

The announcement by the Swedish Academy brought a smile from the 71-year-old author. Â"I'm happy,Â" he told journalists after emerging with his wife and dog from his house in Behlendorf in northern Germany.

The academy cited Grass' first novel, The Tin Drum, which recreates his hometown, Danzig, in the years before the war.


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Through the eyes of a monstrously intelligent three-year-old that overpowers adults with a toy drum, the academy said the author of the 1959 novel, Â"comes to grips with the enormous task of reviewing contemporary history by recalling the disavowed and the forgotten.Â"

Â"It is not too audacious to assume that The Tin Drum will become one of the enduring literary works of the 20th century,Â" the academy said.

Grass is considered one of the most significant and controversial authors to emerge in Germany after World War II, establishing his reputation with The Tin Drum, Cat and Mouse and Dog Years.

The three works, collectively known as The Danzig Trilogy, capture the German reaction to the rise of Nazism, the horrors of war, and the guilt that has lingered in the aftermath of Adolf Hitler's regime.

Â"In his excavation of the past Günter Grass goes deeper than most and he unearths the intertwined roots of good and evil,Â" the academy said. Â"As Dog Years puts it: Â'While God was still at school, in the heavenly playground he came up with the idea of creating the world, together with his schoolmate, the talented little Devil.Â'Â"

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