Böll's novel of the late '50s Billard um halbzehn and his novel of the late '70s Fürsorgliche Belagerung invite comparison, not only because of the similarities which unite these two novels published two decades apart, but also because of the differences which the comparison reveals. The differences are all the more striking because of the overt similarities between the two works. Both novels depict family dynasties; both encompass three generations; both present a strictly confined geographic area; and both take place in a dramatically limited fictional present, in which reminiscences provide insight into events and situations from the past, which permit the present to be more readily understood and evaluated. The external temporal framework, carefully constructed and observed in Billard, is restricted to one day, September 6, 1958, the eightieth birthday of the eldest member of the Fahmel family; in the case of Belagerung it constitutes a relatively confined, but less frequently defined period of some two days, following the election of Fritz Tolm to the presidency of an association of industrial and business leaders.


The news of Heinrich Boll's death (July 16, 1985) came just as this special issue was going to press.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.