Vormgeven aan verslaving
: Alcoholverslaving in Hans Fallada's roman Der Trinker en in twee adaptaties

Translated title of the thesis: Shapping addiction: Alcohol addiction in Hans Fallada's novel The Drinker and in two adaptations
  • A.M.G.T. Verhees

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    This research concerns Hans Fallada's novel Der Trinker (1944), the eponymous film adaptation by Tom Toelle (1995) and the graphic novel Hans Fallada. Der Trinker by Jakob Hinrichs (2015). The central question is how alcohol addiction and the social attitude to this phenomenon are depicted in the novel and the adaptations, and to what extent this representation can be characterized as conservation, criticism or mental processing in relation to contemporary thinking about addiction and addiction care. First, a literature study is carried out on the history of western thinking on alcohol addiction, in particular in Germany. Subsequently, the novel, the film and the graphic novel are analyzed in narratological terms to find out how the cultural-historical theme 'alcohol addiction' has been elaborated in these various media.
    The conclusion of this study is that the image of the alcoholic in both adaptations only differs from that in the source text in terms of medium-specific aspects. This is because alcohol addiction is mainly depicted from the point of view of the alcoholic. The original novel takes a critical position regarding the dehumanizing addiction discourse at the time of the Third Reich. The depiction of the treatment regimen in the novel is an indictment of dehumanization in a ‘total institution’ and therefore, at the time of writing, extremely norm breaking. In the film, the depiction of the treatment differs greatly from that in the novel, and this is related to the transportation of history to the period in the newly reunited Germany. The filmmakers have returned to a longer existing medical discourse, conformal with Jelinek’s insights. The position of the film to the contemporary addiction discourse can therefore be regarded as affirmative. The film also addresses mental processing of trauma, which reflects the contemporary cultural-historical context. After all, just like the drinker in the story, many Germans were confronted with radically changed socio-economic circumstances in the early 1990s. Both the novel and the adaptations transgress norms in terms of their choice of subject, because alcohol addiction is still a social taboo to this day.
    Date of Award9 Jun 2023
    Original languageDutch
    SupervisorJan Oosterholt (Supervisor) & Gemma Blok (Examiner)


    • Hans Fallada
    • Der Trinker

    Master's Degree

    • Master Kunst en Cultuurwetenschappen

    Cite this