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Abstract

Stephan Schaffrath, in his paper "The Methodology of Architectonic Truth-Finding in Grass's The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel)," discusses how Günter Grass's The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel) negotiates the treacherous terrains that lie between positivism and nihilistic relativism by means of a truth-finding methodology. Schaffrath proposes that truth-finding methodology applies approximative, and therefore architectonic, approaches to conventional concepts of narration and history. Grass's novel breaks down and reassembles playfully the conventions of narration and history, not to negate or devalue them, but to reappraise them by means of an approximative truth-finding methodology, an approach that corresponds to Mikhail Bakhtin's concept of the architectonic. An architectonic historical narrative is achieved here by re-creating consciously recent German history instead of a conventional historical narration that claims a certain degree of objectivity. Grass shows us that the genre of the novel can indeed convey history in a fictitious format (an otherwise standard recognition in the humanities today), yet be a useful and insightful medium to those who wish to learn about history in the sense of a factual genre. Grass achieves this by educating his readers about the fine line between fact and fiction as he interweaves a most intricate epistemological commentary into the narrative of his narrator.

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