You go to Heidelberg and other stories too often

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The volume You too often drive to Heidelberg and other stories by Heinrich Böll was published in February 1979 by Lamuv Verlag in Bornheim-Merten . The 18 short stories in this collection had already been published from 1947 - mostly in newspapers and also as radio versions.


The year of first publication is given in round brackets.

From “Vorzeit” (1947) illustrates how people are mocked in the barracks yard. This text is a part of a longer narrative selected by a newspaper editor (in front of the escalating wall ). Böll considered the title that the editorial team chose for the first edition to be completely inappropriate.

The attack (1947) illustrates the inhumanity of war using the example of the infantry. A young, inexperienced soldier dies of fear of heart failure during the assault.

Ash Wednesday (1951)

A man has left his wife. Now he comes home burned down, gets money from his wife, who lives in very simple circumstances, and quickly runs away.

Reunion with the village (1951)

After the war, almost everything in that village is as it was before. Only, some strangers are now resting in the cemetery, while some of the former villagers are resting in the stranger.

Viewing (1951)

A returnees walks through the ruined church of his hometown. In it he discovers fresh bouquets of flowers among the rubble, and the singing of a few believers can be heard from the apparently intact crypt.

Cough in Concert (1952)

The narrator lets his cousin seduce himself into a cough concert while attending the concert.

The ceiling from back then (1952)

Whatever the craftsmen do with the narrator's ceiling - the old stains keep coming through.

My brother's legs (1953)

When the narrator accuses his brother, a successful footballer, of lacking intelligence, this footworker releases him into poverty.

The News of Bethlehem (1954)

Böll offers a modern variant of the prehistory of the Bethlehemite child murder .

The Taste of Bread (1954)

A nun is afraid of a starving newcomer. But he only wants to eat from the many breads from her cupboard.

Until Death Do You Part (1976)

When love dies in a relationship: A newly divorced adulteress, mother of a young boy, is treated like a "hooker".

Courtesy of Various Inevitable Violations (1977)

The humorous satire tells of a "polite bank robber" who does not obey the rules of the game in bank robberies, and of deserting in peacetime.

You drive too often to Heidelberg (1977)

A political issue: the professional career of the exemplary hero in every respect would be unstoppable if he didn't have a flaw. He goes to Heidelberg too often and looks after Chileans in exile at the university. The plot is based on communications from the Heidelberg graphic artist Klaus Staeck, to whom Böll dedicated the story.

My Father's Cough (1977)

The narrator has inherited the embarrassed cough from his father who went bankrupt in 1930 and is now having clever coughing dialogues with his one-year-old grandson.

Confession of a hijacker (1977)

The scheduled flight Leningrad- Copenhagen takes place in this satire without the kidnapper. The Soviet prosecutor is in favor of moderate punishment for the failed “armed” hijacker.

Rendezvous with Margret or: Happy-End (1978)

On the occasion of a funeral, a merchant of devotional items meets former classmates and her childhood friend Margret. He remembers his fallen brother Josef wistfully and looks forward to the end of the get-together with relief.

German Utopias I for Helmut Gollwitzer , den Unafüdlichen (1978) and German Utopias II for Grieshaber (1979) are almost exaggerated satires on some German heads and the zeitgeist in the 1960s and 1970s.


  • These stories are a small “cross section of Heinrich Böll's narrative work”.
  • In the cover story, the “profit society” that only recognizes professional success is caricatured.
  • The story from “Vorzeit” also provides its own interpretation.
  • Jurgensen attributes the first ten stories in this collection to the author's early work. The last eight stories are more about "political grievances".
  • Jurgensen uses the story Until that death separates you to briefly refer to "language collusions" [darkening, veiling] in Böll's late work: The types of death are meant quite differently in the later work than their direct relationship to death in the early work.


First edition
  • Heinrich Böll: You go to Heidelberg and other stories too often. Lamuv Verlag Bornheim-Merten February 1979. 100 pages, ISBN 3-921521-07-6 .
Secondary literature
  • Manfred Jurgensen: "The poetry of the moment". The short stories pp. 43–60. In: Bernd Balzer (Ed.): Heinrich Böll 1917 - 1985 for his 75th birthday. Peter Lang AG Bern 1992. 354 pages, ISBN 3-906750-26-4 .
  • Henning Falkenstein: Heinrich Böll . Morgenbuch Verlag Volker Spiess, Berlin 1996. 95 pages, ISBN 3-371-00398-1 .
  • Werner Bellmann : Heinrich Böll. “You go to Heidelberg too often.” In: German short prose of the present. Interpretations . Edited by WB and Christine Hummel. Reclam, Stuttgart 2006. pp. 140-151. ISBN 3-15-017531-3 .
  • Bernd Balzer: Böll's first publication: A key to his work? In: Orbis Linguarum 11 (1999) pp. 5-19. [To: From the "prehistory" .]

Individual evidence

  1. Bellmann, Böll-Bibliographie, Opladen 1995, p. 195, entry 1979.23
  2. Source, pp. 98, 99.
  3. From Der Engel schwieg , pp. 125–131: The war returnees Hans Schnitzler enters his old parish church, in which he was once baptized.
  4. From Der Engel schwieg , pp. 7–12: Hans Schnitzler is looking for Elisabeth Gompertz in the hospital of the Vincentian Sisters.
  5. Source, p. 1, 17. Zvo
  6. Falkenstein, p. 80.
  7. Jurgensen, p. 56, 18. Zvo
  8. Jurgensen, p. 56 middle
  9. Jurgensen, p. 57, 5. Zvo
  10. Jurgensen, p. 56 below