Böll's essays comprise a valuable part of his oeuvre. Four volumes are available in hardback editions2 and many more essays have appeared in newspapers and periodicals. In sheer quantity alone much of Böll's time, effort, and creativity has gone into this genre. But it is not their number which is important, nor alone the insights which they provide into the major short stories and novels, it is their quality of expression, their artistry which makes them indispensable reading for a full appreciation of Böll's work. A short piece written in 1970, dedicated to the philosopher Ernst Bloch on his eighty-fifth birthday, is brief enough and typical enough to analyze here as a demonstration of Böll's skill in this genre.



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