The Social Role of Art and the Artist in the Ballads of Günter Grass and Wolf Biermann

Jelena Knežević


The aim of this paper is to show how the German artistic ballad reflects the question of the social role of art and the artist in the second half of the 20th century, when – parallel with the affirmation of the concept of socially engaged and conscious art – the question of the status of an intellectual in society becomes very important. Within this study of German ballad, this literary and musical genre is understood as a short discursive form that deals with existential questions and stoned truths and values by means of apparently naive and simple presented events, offering in that way an opportunity for critical reflection in the act of reception. Two representative ballads are interpreted within this paper: Adorno's tongue (Adornos Zunge, 1965) from Günter Grass and Ballad to the Poet François Villon (Ballade auf den Dichter François Villon, 1968) from Wolf Biermann. The immanent text interpretation of the two selected ballads shows the way in which literature, as an aesthetic response to reality, can offer the relevant critical perception of society, considering the historical moment of origin of the text as well as the philosophical and existential views of the author.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n13p257

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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