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By Heinrich Boll

Comprises the whole German textual content, observed by way of German-English vocabulary. Notes and an in depth creation in English placed the paintings in its social and old context.

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Extra resources for Ansichten eines Clowns (Methuen's Twentieth Century German Texts with english commentary)

Sample text

This sets in motion a complex merging sequence which Böll holds together with remarkable skill. As Hans watches Marie he has a memory of his brother Leo and remembers their very different 28 ANSICHTEN EINES CLOWNS reactions to their father’s mistress, and then he returns to Marie again. In one complex, almost cinematic moment, a whole set of shifting, differing relationships is brought together. The observation is remarkably close and creates a real sense of the detail of experience. But this is not to say that the book is full of undifferentiated irrelevant detail.

40). It is part of Böll’s conscious artistry in the story that an idea like this will be introduced at the opening and played on at several points as the novel progresses. It is all part of a skilfully conceived network of ideas that float in and out of Hans’s mind as the story unfolds. The novel is only apparently digressive. Everything contributes to our understanding of Hans, his situation, his views. By far the most impressive aspect of Böll’s method in this novel is the way he uses the reminiscence technique in a wholly unforced way.

Details’ such as this stem clearly from Böll’s personal experiences in 1945–6 (see Wintzen, pp. 114–15). Böll’s many political essays, as well as his fiction, bear witness to the fact that he felt the new democracy in West Germany was threatened from all quarters. Certainly during the Adenauer era there were a considerable number of former Nazis in prominent positions. Two of Adenauer’s most trusted supporters who held office in the 1950s—Hans Globke and Hubert Blankenhorn—had been Nazi functionaries and Theodor Oberländer, who had been adviser to the Nazis on Eastern European matters, was a minister in Adenauer’s government from 1953.

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