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Literary Precedents for The Tin Drum

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Literary Precedents

Besides the previously mentioned affinities of the works of Melville, Joyce, Faulkner, and Pavese, critics have also pointed to the picaresque Simplicissimus (1669) by Johann Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen. One of the most interesting comparisons, however, has been drawn with Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy (1759-1767). Grass admits admiring the great eighteenth-century novel and critics have pointed out several influences. First, much of The Tin Drum, despite the many real horrors it depicts, consists of humor. Many scenes are irreverent or silly or filled with slapstick. With the detachment and narrative distance of Tristram Shandy, Oskar watches the world around him go through its madness, and with the cold eye of a child, reveals it for all its ludicrousness. Like Sterne, Grass has a keen eye for absurdity, even in the midst of the ideas and events which most people take with great seriousness. Secondly, a great deal of the...

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This section contains 276 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Tin Drum Study Guide
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The Tin Drum from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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