Das Treffen in Telgte; The Meeting at Telgte

Das Treffen in Telgte; The Meeting at Telgte (1979)This novella describes a gathering of German poets in 1647 near the end of the Thirty Years War (1618-48). Grass is making a parallels with his own time, and in particular with Gruppe 47, a group of West German writers founded by Hans Werner Richter in 1947. The poets meet in an inn which is run by Grimmelshausen’s (anti-)heroine Courasche (here spelled Courage). The figure of Simon Dach, who chairs the meeting, is modelled upon Richter, and the debates on the political status of art echo those which took place in Gruppe 47 (on this point see Julian Preece, The Life and Work of Günter Grass: History, Literature, Politics, 2nd edn, Basingstoke and New York, 2004, pp. 147-50). Grass is paying tribute to the baroque period in German literature which influenced his own work considerably, and he is also paying tribute to his colleagues in Gruppe 47 (the book is dedicated to Hans Werner Richter). The German edition contains 43 poems by the poets featured in the novel; these poems are not included in the English translation by Ralph Manheim.

Further Reading

Rebecca Braun, ‘Authorial construction in From the Diary of a Snail and The Meeting at Telgte’, in The Cambridge Companion to Günter Grass, ed. by Stuart Taberner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), pp. 96-110

Stuart Parkes and John J. White (eds.), The Gruppe 47 Fifty Years On: A Re-Appraisal of its Literary and Political Significance (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1999)

Alexander Weber, Günter Grass’s Use of Baroque Literature (London: Maney/MHRA, 1995)