In June 1956 the recently founded West German literary periodical Akzente published a review-article by Heinrich Böll assessing the contemporary significance of two by then well-known foreign novels: Jaroslav Hasek's The Good Soldier Schwejk and — of all improbable bed-fellows for his twentieth-century Czech classic — James Jones's World War Two saga From Here to Eternity (both of them in German translation). Although the fact does not actually emerge from what is said here, Böll had written prior reviews of both these translations separately elsewhere, on the occasion of their first appearance some three years before. The timing of the 1953 publication of Verdammt in aile Ewigkeit had, needless to say, been scheduled to coincide with the European distribution of Fred Zinnemann's much acclaimed film version featuring Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr and Frank Sinatra, although whether Böll was at that time, or even later, familiar with the American movie is not clear.



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