On the Death of Siegfried Lenz ? ?You have to justify your life?

Siegfried Lenz, one of the great writers of German post-war literature is dead. He died on 7 October 2014, surrounded by his family. He was 88 years old.... more more

GoetheInstitute

05/12/2006

Magazine Roundup

Magazine Roundup, which appears every Tuesday at 12 p.m., is originally published by Perlentaucher.

Folio | Nepszabadsag | Il Foglio | Wired | Gazeta Wyborcza | The Times Literary Supplement | Asharq Al-Awsat | Le Figaro | DU | openDemocracy | Elet es Irodalom | The New York Times


Folio 04.12.2006 (Switzerland)

Folio dedicates its current edition to the understanding of freedom. Ulrich Schmid criticises the admiration certain Western Europeans have for the "new freedoms" in Russia and China. "Freedom wherever you look: if you want to smoke in Russia, you can, if you want to drive over the pavement, you can, if the traffic is clogged, and if you want to buy beer and hamburgers at three in the morning in an underground station, go ahead. In the apartment block in the district of Otradoje where I live when I'm in Moscow, people can turn up their music as loud as they please, and no-one rings the police. When friends from Moscow visited me in Washington, they were outraged at all the prohibitions and the solicitude with which they were observed." Of course one can look at it the other way: "'Have you noticed that the Russian police and soldiers smoke on duty?' asked Lena, a Russian friend. 'That's our new Russian freedom for you: ugly, selfish and stinking.'... Rights are always freedoms but you can have freedoms without rights. In Putin's new Russia, it is the strong who collect: the politicians, the powerful business people, the criminals and the police. The weak, their victims are free as the birds."

In his "Perfume Notes" column, Luca Turin introduces (in English) what is known as "niche perfumery", "bold, transparent, highly coloured, deceptively simple perfumes that did not belong in the French Mainstream and were sold to the (by then solvent) 1968 generation" by companies such as L'Artisan. "Never underestimate the French gift for refinement: from Debussy to Nouvelle Cuisine, they do fresh, spare, subtle beauty like nobody else. No fragrance better illustrates this, and better exemplifies what amounts to a new school, than than Duchaufour's sensationally beautiful 'Timbuktu' (2004). It is a vetiver (more), but unlike any other, with a cool, rosy, dawn-like radiance."


Nepszabadsag 03.12.2006 (Hungary)

The publication of a new edition of the complete works of Hungarian novelist Magda Szabo prompted Andras Cserna-Szabo to reread her family saga "An old-fashioned story". "Szabo wrote it at a time when the literary elite were condemning stories in general as anachronistic, un-modern or suspicious, when the age-old harmony (or dissonance) of form and content, was being ousted out by the autarchy of form, when post-modern aesthetes were explaining to their increasingly complacent readers why they had to love what they didn't understand. Magda Szabo was not concerned with trends, she had more important things to do. She collected together the remains of the past, researched the forgotten details of her family history, cross-questioned her relatives, read cook books, marriage registers, letters and diaries.... We men should not feel ashamed of ourselves after reading this book: it is not cheap feminism that drives Magda Szabo to assert that the world is a on-going battle between monsters in skirts and proud fairies. Because this is the whole truth. In this gigantic game, the men can only play supporting roles."


Il Foglio 02.12.2006 (Italy)

"The book every publisher dreams of." Ottavio Cappellani's fun-packed Mafia novel "Chi e Lou Scirotino?" has deservedly made it across the Atlantic to Farrar, Straus & Giroux, writes Marairosa Mancuso. The novel features many a Sicilian who takes the same route. "The Sciortino family launders their dirty money in the cinema business. It buys or builds cinemas in provincial America, and nobody minds that not a soul comes to watch the films. Every Monday someone comes with a suitcase full of money and buys out the tickets for the entire week. At the ticket office naturally no one asks for I.D. and taxes are paid regularly - on a fraction of the takings - to keep the FBI happy."

Further articles: Siegmund Ginzberg tells (here and here) three stories about murdered agents. Stefano di Michele portrays the president of the Italian House of Representatives, Fausto Bertinotti.


Wired 01.12.2006 (USA)

Is YouTube the next evolutionary stage of television and television advertising, asks Bob Garfield. 100 million streams daily sounds impressive, but where are the ads supposed to go? "For instance, if you are, say, Meow Mix, and you bought ads adjacent to cat-related videos, how surprised and disappointed you might be to learn you have sponsored a YouTube video uploaded by someone named mrwheatley and titled "exploding cat." Or the one from qu1rk89 titled "exploding cat." Or this one: "ma907h eats dead cat," which shows a guy … oh, never mind. As Cory Treffiletti, VP of media services for interactive agency Real Branding, grimly observes of the metadata describing a YouTube video, 'Right now it consists of only a few key terms the user selects. And there's no blank to fill out for 'cat vivisection.'"


Gazeta Wyborcza 02.12.2006 (Poland)

The EU entry talks with Turkey have ground to a halt, but many of the reform efforts were geared towards imminent accession. What will happen now to the democracy on the Bosphorus, Adam Balcer asks. "The Turkish paradox is that the conservative Islamic AKP is the country's leading pro-European party. But without the European perspective it looks very unlikely that it will morph into a sort of Muslim Christian Democrat party or that Turkey will become a full democracy." There has been marked progress in matters relating to the constitutional state, minority rights and freedom of opinion, says Balcer. The army is still a major stumbling-block. "The generals believe that they must stand autonomously at the side of the government, because the party in power is 'unstable'. This opinion is shared by many politicians in Europe – the fear of the Islamisation of Turkey is blinding them to the genuine successes in the development of the entry candidate's civil society."

Literary shooting star Dorota Maslowska has now written a play. In an interview with journalist Slawomir Sierakowski she talks about social classes, futile rise and welcome fall, about roles and costumes and her drama debut. "Drama is like maths, because what the heroes say contains what they do, what they think, what happens and what will happen, plus the extra something that complicates everything a bit so it isn't too obvious."


The Times Literary Supplement 01.12.2006 (UK)

Sophie Ratcliffe fought her way through Thomas Pynchon's new 1,085-page novel "Against the Day". But it was apparently worth the effort. "What is different in 'Against the Day' is the way absence becomes clearer to us at a structural level. Indeed, one criticism that has already been levelled at the book is that it is impossible to hold on to its many characters. This is partly because of the sheer mass of the narrative, but also because so many of them simply drop out of the plot. These are not Dickensian 'moments of uncompensated kindness', when a character absent for 400 pages is brought back on stage. Pynchon is playing out, on a textual level, the very experience of being obliterated that he is writing about. For this loss is representative of what the novel protests against – loss of life, loss of plot, but, in particular, the loss of the individual in a mass of capitalist greed."

Further articles: Malcolm Bowie celebrates Richard Stokes' "Book of Lieder", a collection of over 1,000 German and Austrian Lieder translated into English. Together with Hugo Wolf, "who brought the art of the Lied to a new summit of dramatic complexity in the late nineteenth century" he sings a tribute to the songmaker's art: "Auch kleine Dinge können uns entzücken / Auch kleine Dinge können teuer sein. (Even small things can delight us / Even small things can be precious.)"


Asharq Al-Awsat 29.11.2006 (Saudi Arabia / UK)

"Is writing 'licentious novels' the quickest route to fame today?" With this question Ayman al-Qadi and Saad Jurus go out in search of what they consider an alarming phenomena: sex as subject matter in new Arab literature. The Egyptian writer Salwa Bakr sees the causes elsewhere. To blame, she writes, is the "sexual repression" from which the majority of the population suffer and which is being compounded by satellite TV and other media. This is the reason why the youth is so interested in sex, in licentious literature, in trashy films and other things that challenge and satisfy everything that has been repressed. Add to this the fact that emotional and sexuality are always talked about in hushed tones, these topics are hidden and suppressed – with the false assertion that talk of such matters infringes on piety. This is wrong. Religion allows us to talk about even the most trivial aspects of human existence. In today's repressive climate, this is not the case. This climate is responsible for unleashing the flood of satellite channels and other licentious media – like the cheap literature in the first place. It is absolutely natural that young people take refuge in these things."


Le Figaro 01.12.2006 (France)

This interesting discussion between the German bestselling author Daniel Kehlmann and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn first appeared in Cicero magazine. Solzhenitsyn discusses among other things the unsettling question of whether the catastrophes of the 20th century were unavoidable. His answer: yes. "The Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917 was a direct and absolutely inescapable consequence of the February Revolution. Did God want things to happen that way? God never took the freedom to choose away from us. We create our history ourselves. We push ourselves into the grave. And the necessity or the absurdity of our suffering depends on our ability to learn from history. Looking at world history as a whole, I believe that without the Russian Revolution another, similar revolution would have taken place, as a continuation of the French Revolution. For people must pay for the loss of the feeling of limitation of their desires and demands."


DU 01.12.2006 (Switzerland)

This issue is dedicated to the islands of the Pacific. Nice idea, even for those who have always found the ocean menacing, like author and non-swimmer Felicitas Hoppe. "No one calls. The water remains calm. In the heat on the way to the Equator I miss the voices of home. There, the sailors whisper quietly, I will be baptised. Equatorial baptism! Finally I will become one of them. The dark omens multiply: thick air, swollen feet, sweaty hands. Heels worn down from nervous scurrying about on deck. But below deck I am what I will always be: a landlubber, a woman from the provinces, unfit to be a seaman, baptised or not. I come from Hamlin, that lies on the Weser, I'm used to friendly shores, palpable hills, human horizons. The seas are simply too big for me."


openDemocracy 01.12.2006 (UK)

In a long investigative piece, Phil Gunson looks at the leftist "solidarity journalism" surrounding Hugo Chavez, and dispels several myths about the newly re-elected president of Venezuela. Contrary to widespread rumours, he maintains among other things that the 2002 putsch attempt against Chavez is not the result of American machinations. Gunson decries the virulent attacks by "solidarity journalists" on all Chavez' critics, concluding: "This intolerant attitude has the effect of stifling the debate as to whether chavismo really is the best the left has to offer Latin America, and the world in general, in the face of the challenges of the 21st century. That debate, which is an important one, will not be conducted by hurling insults - the weapon of those who have no arguments - but by coolly appraising the facts and exchanging ideas with others who, whilst they may hold different views, are equally willing to set aside prejudices and foster a civilised discussion."


Elet es Irodalom 01.12.2006 (Hungary)

Art critic Laszlo Földenyi is absolutely smitten by the exhibition in Budapest of Hungarian artist Attila Szücs: "Strange visions, reminiscent of smoke clouds or mirages, appear in front of a neutral background that cannot be located in terms of either time or space – like the muted light of the sea floor or gravity-free outer space... They're like shadows created without a light source. Images that have become independent of light and freed themselves from matter. Shadows with an existence of their own linger and loaf about against almost monochromatic shades. They are at the beck and call of neither space nor time. Space capsules, sent out into the universe. The small world they envelop has been entrusted to their care: a solitary woman, a waiting child, a piece of furniture, an animal, a landscape, several women, and so on. These bubbles or shadows could contain anything at all. In Attila Szücs' paintings the entire world becomes such a shadowy place."


The New York Times 03.12.2006 (USA)

The 9/11 Commission has stated in its report that the attacks of September 11 were not prevented because the American intelligence services did not network their information. In a compelling report, Clive Thompson tells how the services are now trying to crank up their interactive tools to the level of the average teenager. The CIA has now created the Galileo Award. First prize went to an essay by Calvin Andrus, Chief Technical Officer at the agency's Center for Mission Innovation. "Spies, Andrus theorized, could take advantage of these rapid, self-organizing effects. If analysts and agents were encouraged to post personal blogs and wikis on Intelink — linking to their favorite analyst reports or the news bulletins they considered important — then mob intelligence would take over. In the traditional cold-war spy bureaucracy, an analyst's report lived or died by the whims of the hierarchy. If he was in the right place on the totem pole, his report on Soviet missiles could be pushed up higher; if a supervisor chose to ignore it, the report essentially vanished. Blogs and wikis, in contrast, work democratically. Pieces of intel would receive attention merely because other analysts found them interesting... no matter what their supervisors thought."

In further articles: Rachel Donaldio has had a look around the South African literature scene, which seems to her incredibly dynamic, but also very fragmented. Deborah Solomon talks with the Chinese composer Tan Dun about work in the rice fields and the songs of the peasants. And Negar Azimi looks at the situation of homosexuals in Egypt.

Get the signandsight newsletter for regular updates on feature articles.
signandsight.com - let's talk european.

 
More articles

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 27 March, 2012

The Republicans are waging a war against women, the New York Magazine declares. Perhaps it's because women are so unabashed about reading porn in public - that's according to publisher Beatriz de Moura in El Pais Semanal, at least. Polityka remembers Operation Reinhard. Tensions are growing between Poland and Hungary as Victor Orban spreads his influence, prompting ruminations on East European absurdity from both Elet es Irodalom and salon.eu.sk. Wired is keeping its eyes peeled on the only unassuming sounding Utah Data Center.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 20 March, 2012

In Telerama, Benjamin Stora grabs hold of the Algerian boomerang. In Eurozine, Slavenka Drakulic tells the Venetians that they should be very scared of Chinese money. Bela Tarr tells the Frankfurter Rundschau and the Berliner Zeitung that his "Turin Horse", which ends in total darkness was not intended to depress. In die Welt, historian Dan Diner cannot agree with Timothy Snyder's "Bloodlands": National Socialism was not like Communism - because of Auschwitz.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 13 March, 2012

In Perfil author Martin Kohn explains why Argentina would be less Argentinian if it won back the Falklands. In Il sole 24 ore, Armando Massarenti describes the Italians as a pack of illiterates sitting atop a treasure trove. Polityka introduces the Polish bestseller of the season: Danuta Walesa's autobiography. L'Express looks into the state of Japanese literature one year after Fukushima.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 6 March, 2012

In Merkur, Stephan Wackwitz muses on poetry and absurdity in Tiflis. Outlook India happens on the 1980s Indian answer to "The Artist". Bloomberg Businessweek climbs into the cuckoo's nest with the German Samwar brothers. Salon.eu.sk learns how to line the pockets of a Slovenian politician. In the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Navid Kermani reports back impressed from the Karachi Literature Festival.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 28 February, 2012

In La Vie des idees, historian Anastassios Anastassiadis explains why we should go easy on Greece. Author Aleksandar Hemon describes in Guernica how ethnic identity is indoctrinated in the classroom in Bosnia and Herzogovina. In Eurozine, Klaus-Michael Bogdal examines how Europe invented the Gypsies. Elet es Irodalon praises the hygiene obsession of German journalists. And Polityka pinpoints Polish schizophrenia.

read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 21 February, 2012

The New Republic sees a war being waged in the USA against women's rights. For Rue89, people who put naked women on the front page of a newspaper should not be surprised if they go to jail. In Elet es Irodalom, historian Mirta Nunez Daaz-Balart explains why the wounds of the Franco regime never healed. In Eurozine, Stephen Holmes and Ivan Krastev see little in common between the protests in Russia and those in the Arab world.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 14 February, 2012

In Letras Libras Enrique Krauze and Javier Sicilia fight over anarchy levels. In Elet es Irodalom Balint Kadar wants Budapest to jump on the Berlin bandwagon. In Le Monde Imre Kertesz has given up practically all hope for a democratic Hungary. Polityka ponders poetic inspiration and Wislawa Szymborska's "I don't know". In Espressso, Umberto Eco gets eschatological.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 7 February, 2012

Poland's youth have taken to the streets to protest against Acta and Donald Tusk has listened, Polityka explains. Himal and the Economist report on the repression of homosexuality in the Muslim world. Outlook India doesn't understand why there will be no "Dragon Tattoo" film in India. And in Eurozine, Slavenka Drakulic looks at how close the Serbs are to eating grass.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 31 January, 2012

In the French Huffington Post, philosopher Catherine Clement explains why the griot Youssou N'Dour had next to no chance of becoming Senegal's president. Peter Sloterdijk (in Le Monde) and Umberto Eco (in Espresso) share their thoughts about forgetting. Al Ahram examines the post-electoral depression of Egypt's young revolutionaries. And in Eurozine, Kenan Malik defends freedom of opinion against those who want the world to go to sleep.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 24 January, 2012

TeaserPicIl Sole Ore weeps at the death of a laughing Vincenzo Consolo. In Babelia, Javier Goma Lanzon cries: Praise me, please! Osteuropa asks: Hungaria, quo vadis? The newborn French Huffington Post heralds the birth of the individual in the wake of the Arab Spring. Outlook India is infuriated by the cowardliness of Indian politicians in the face of religious fanatics.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 17 January, 2012

TeaserPicIn Nepszabadsag the dramatist György Spiro recognises 19th century France in Hungary today. Peter Nadas, though, in Lettre International and salon.eu.sk, is holding out hope for his country's modernisation. In Open Democracy, Boris Akunin and Alexei Navalny wish Russia was as influential as America - or China. And in Lettras Libras, Peter Hamill compares Mexico with a mafia film by the Maquis de Sade.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 10 January, 2012

Are books about to become a sort of author-translator wiki, asks Il Sole 24 Ore. Rue 89 reports on the "Tango Wars" in downtown Buenos Aires. Elet es Irodalom posits a future for political poetry. In Merkur, Mikhail Shishkin encounters Russian pain in Switzerland. Die Welt discovers the terror of the new inside the collapse of the old in Andrea Breth's staging of Isaak Babel's "Maria". And Poetry Foundation waits for refugees in Lampedusa.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Wednesday 4 January, 2012

TeaserPicTechnology Review sees Apple as the next Big Brother. In Eurozine, Per Wirten still fears the demons of the European project. Al Ahram Weekly features Youssef Rakha's sarcastic "The honourable citizen manifesto". Revista Piaui profiles Iraqi-Norwegian geologist Farouk Al-Kasim. Slate.fr comments on the free e-book versions of Celine's work. And Die Welt celebrates the return of Palais Schaumburg.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 13 December, 2011

TeaserPicAndre Glucksman in Tagesspiegel looks at the impact of the Putinist plague on Russia and Europe. In Letras Libras Martin Caparros celebrates the Kindle as book. György Dalos has little hope that Hungary's intellectuals can help get their country out of the doldrums. Le Monde finds Cioran with his head up the skirt of a young German woman. The NYT celebrates the spread of N'Ko, the West African text messaging alphabet.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 6 December, 2011

TeaserPicMicroMega cheers recent landmark Mafia convictions in Milan. Volltext champions Hermann Broch. Elet es Irodalom calls the Orban government’s attack on cultural heritage "Talibanisation". Magyar Narancs is ambiguous about new negotiations with the IMF. Telerama recommends the icon of anti-colonialism Frantz Fanon. Salon.eu.sk quips about the dubious election results in Russia, and voices in the German press mark the passing of Christa Wolf. And in the Anglophone press Wired profiles Jeff Bezos, while the Columbia Journalism Review polemicises the future of internet journalism.
read more