The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, or How Violence Develops and Where it Can Lead by Heinrich Böll

I read this novella (103 pages) for my film and literature class, and we watched the film in class. It’s about an almost prudish girl who spends the night with a supposed terrorist and gets a ton of negative media coverage for it, which is corrosive to her life.

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, or How Violence Develops and Where it Can Lead

This book was surprisingly interesting. It had really short chapters — some less than a page, most containing police-report like narrative about events going on around Katharina Blum.

There weren’t too many memorable characters in this novella, as the only two people I really remember now are Katharina and Ludwig — the guy she spends the night with. In the beginning of the story, Katharina confesses to murdering a member of the press, and the rest of the book is sort of based around trying to find out why she did that (or how violence develops and where it can lead).

The story moves quickly, and is definitely relevant to our times… The lack of secrecy and the invasive qualities of the press are something that aren’t likely to go away any time soon.

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum Poster

The movie was made in the 70’s and was subbed in English (from German). It was a fair representation of the book, even though they left out the announcement of her murder in the beginning. In my opinion, that changed the tone of the story, and not for the better. As usual, I go with, “The book is better than the movie.”

Either way, I would recommend this novella to everyone — it is short and easy to read, and the narrative style is fun.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Adam
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 15:45:38

    Sounds like something I’ll have to look into.

    Also, after reading all the posts you do about this class, I can easily say that I wish I had taken a class similar to it. I don’t even know if my college offered something like this, but it sounds like a lot of fun.


    • hannahrose42
      Feb 27, 2012 @ 15:56:21

      It is a fun class. We meet on Monday nights for about 3 1/2 hours, so we have plenty of time to watch a whole movie and discuss. We’re reading Titus Andronicus for our next class, which will be a while from now, as we’re starting to write our own adaptations soon.


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