Heinrich Böll

The Lost Honour Of Katharina Blum

Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum

The Lost Honour Of Katharina Blum

Nobel Prize for Literature 1972

A young woman inadvertently becomes the centre of the sensationalism and political agitation of a boulevard newspaper.

After falling in love with a young man who is wanted by police for “radicalism”, Katharina Blum’s life is made unbearable by journalists who scrutinize and make public every aspect of her private life. The consequence of this violation of her privacy by the media is the beginning of the story: Katharina Blum has shot a journalist and another photographer has been shot by an unknown woman. This is the shocking incident that cries for interpretation and clarification.

The pattern of the street ballad of a woman’s lost honour is used here for its emancipatory and aggressive potential: The woman who has been humiliated in the public opinion fights back – if necessary with violence.

Böll added in a preface: “Characters and storyline are a work of fiction. Should similarities to the journalistic methods of a certain boulevard newspaper be detected, these similarities are neither intended nor accidental but inevitable.”

"Böll sustains a masterly and insidious tension to the end. He is detached, angry and totally in control" (The Times)

"Such is the force of Böll’s conviction, the clarity of his vision and the icy economy of his unemotive prose that within this short space he has distilled a spirit that burns into the palate the unmistakeable and lasting tang of truth" (Sunday Times)

"A marvel of compression and irony" (Sunday Telegraph)



ISBN: 978-3-462-03145-4
release: 30. November -0001
160 pages, gebunden mit SU


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About the Author

In 1972, Heinrich Böll became the first German to win the Nobel Prize for literature since Thomas Mann in 1929. Born in Cologne, in 1917, Böll was reared in a liberal Catholic, pacifist family. Drafted into the Wehrmacht, he served on the Russian and French fronts and was wounded four times before he found himself in an American prison camp. After the war he began writing about his shattering experiences as a soldier. His first novel, The Train Was on Time, was published in 1949, and he went on to become one of the most prolific and important of post-war German writers. Böll served for several years as the president of International P.E.N. and was a leading defender of the intellectual freedom of writers throughout the world. He died in June 1985.