Böll describes the artist's act of creation in terms of a tension between embodiment (Verkorperung) and unpredictability (Unberechenbarkeit). For Böll, literature never directly reflects a reality external to itself, but creates an autonomous linguistic reality of its own. Yet he insists that the writer is responsible, both aesthetically and ethically, for the embodiment of that reality in the socially objective medium of human speech and writing. He goes on to speak of a space which is left over or left in between — ein Rest or ein Zwischenraum — between the potential and the actual presence of meaning in language. The importance of that space to Böll's understanding of his work as a whole is suggested by the plethora of words he uses to describe it: Ironie, Poesie, Gott, Fiktion, oder Widerstand.



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