A land where sweetness is mixed with bitterness. Ireland as an object of longing in German literature on the example of Heinrich Böll's Irish Journal
Published in 1957, Heinrich Böll's Irish Journal shaped in the minds of German readers an image of Ireland as a mysterious island where happiness and melancholy go hand in hand - an image that endures to this day. The work, a collection of loose short stories based on the author's travel experiences, shows the Emerald Isle as a land of contrasts and contradictory emotions, where the past blends with the present and where the mythical landscape and the apparent simplicity of life hide a second depth. The same is true of the journal itself, which, between descriptions of picturesque landscapes and Irish customs, also incorporates themes such as the omnipresent poverty, the inevitable emigration, the lack of prospects and the almost fanatical religiosity that plague Ireland. However, these extremes triggered in Heinrich Böll a longing for the originality and sincerity of the Emerald Isle, the absence of which he felt very strongly. With the publication of the Irish Journal, one man's personal longing became a mass desire of the German people to see and experience a land of "errors and truths". More than 60 years after its publication, Heinrich Böll's work continues to inspire generations of readers to travel with the promise of satisfying their longing for Ireland.
German literature; longing; Ireland; Heinrich Böll; Irish Journal
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