Ralf Schnell

Heinrich Böll And The Germans

Heinrich Böll und die Deutschen

Heinrich Böll And The Germans

An astute study on the occasion of the 100th birthday of one of Germany’s most important writers: Heinrich Böll (1917-1985), born in Cologne, ordinary soldier in World War II, representative of the “Trümmerliteratur” (“literature of the rubble”) after 1945, author of major novels, critical intellectual with significant public influence and winner of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1972. What did the writer Böll make of the Germans, and they of him? Ralf Schnell, a renowned authority on contemporary German-language literature, devotes himself to Böll’s relationship with Germany and the Germans and shows – in a clear and engaging way – how the political, social and cultural dislocations of the 20th century influenced Böll’s life – and to what extent Böll’s artistic responses resonated with his readers.

Beginning with Böll’s origins and youth – his large petit-bourgeois Catholic family in Cologne, his participation in the war and his time as a prisoner of war – Schnell traces the key aspects of Böll’s life and work. He sheds light on his literary beginnings as a young father in the postwar period, how he came to terms with war guilt and the Holocaust, the political conservatism of the Adenauer era, the formation of a literary enterprise through Gruppe 47 (Group 47) and Böll’s relationship to East Germany and the Red Army Faction. Indispensable for anyone interested in learning about or rediscovering the work of Heinrich Böll.



ISBN: 978-3-462-04871-1
release: 05. October 2017
240 pages, gebunden mit SU


19,00 €
0,00 sFr
19,60 €

About the Author

Ralf Schnell, born in Oldenburg in 1943, is professor emeritus of contemporary German literary history and media studies. He studied at the University of Cologne and at the Free University of Berlin. He has been a professor at the University of Hannover (1972–1987), Keio University in Tokyo (1988–1997) and University of Siegen (1997–2006), where he served as president from 2006 to 2009. He has also been a visiting professor at numerous universities, above all in Eastern Asia. He co-edited the Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik (“Journal of Literary Studies and Linguistics”), is a member of the WDR broadcasting council and a sponsor of the literature festival “Literaturpflaster” (Bad Berleburg). Since 2010, he has been living in Berlin.