Skip to main content


eCommons@Cornell >
Cornell University Graduate School >
Cornell Theses and Dissertations >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Authors: Low, David
Keywords: Heinrich Boll
Aesthetic of the Humane
Ansichten eines Clowns
Billard um halb zehn
Und Sagte kein einziges Wort
Frank Finlay
Frankfurter Vorlesungen
Issue Date: 7-Oct-2008
Abstract: In his Frankfurter Vorlesungen Heinrich Boll attempts to formulate an aesthetic program that explains how the moral content of writing might be inscribed in its structure. This "aesthetic of the humane" would involve the subject-matter and orientation of a work's content toward the representation of the historically real and the truth content of that reality. The "real" as it is in the historical world and that "reality" that contains the truth content of the experienced world are to be unified in the aesthetic of the humane, and it is the author who is burdened with the task of mediating the two for her reader. In many of his essays Boll privileges communication as an inherently moral act, and emphasizes the responsibility of the author to use his vocation humanely. In order to understand how Boll realized the concept of the aesthetic of the humane in his own writing we may look to how he uses communication within his texts to demonstrate moral action. Communication between characters at the level of plot corresponds to the author's obligation to depict the "real" historical component, and communicative structures in the matrix of his novels relate to the "reality" of mediated experience provided as commentary by the author to the reader. This thesis examines how Boll delivers these dual messages using the depiction of communication in three of his early novels. Boll's early novels were chosen for analysis because they correspond to a period in his career before his writing entered into a direct dialogue with his detractors and political opponents. His later writing may be seen as responses to "real" historical developments in his life, and as such do not exhibit the balance of the "real" and "reality" that are the goal of the engaged writer according to his own essays. Through a discussion of Und sagte kein einziges Wort, Billard um halb zehn, and Ansichten eines Clowns this thesis concludes that as of the moment that he articulates his aesthetic program in 1964 Boll harbored doubts about its effectiveness to reach his audience and affect any meaningful change in society.
Appears in Collections:Cornell Theses and Dissertations

Files in This Item:

File Description SizeFormat
Thesis Formatted for Submission Final Oct 6.pdf448.18 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

Refworks Export

Items in eCommons are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.


© 2014 Cornell University Library Contact Us