Saturday, July 17, 2010

The German Series #5 - Heinrich Böll



German writer, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1972. Heinrich Böll portrayed Germany after World War II with a deep moral vision and attacked the materialistic values of the post-war society. With the writer Günter Grass, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1999, Böll played an unwanted role as a sort of national conscience. Böll's unorthodox Catholic belief added also a spiritual content to his stories, which were anchored in the present-day reality.
Böll's early novels dealt with the despair of soldiers' lives, the oppressive cruelties he witnessed in his youth and in military service. From the "worm's-eye" view of World War II his scope widened gradually on the reality of modern German society. In a 1952 essay, Böll accepted the label "rubble literature" as a designation of literary trend which focused on the war, coming home, and reconstruction. Böll wanted to find a realism that would correspond "to the laconic nature of the generation which has 'come home', a generation that knows there is no home for them on this earth."
Alexander Solzhenitsyn seen with Heinrich Böll in Langenbroich in West Germany
Böll's major later works include The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (1974), which attacked yellow journalism.




The 1972 Nobel Prize: "...for his writing which through its combination of a broad perspective on his time and a sensitive skill in characterization has contributed to a renewal of German literature."

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