Writing against disappearance ? Sa?a Stani?i?

Sa?a Stani?i?, who grew up in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Germany, writes regional novels of an unusual kind. His novel ?Vor dem Fest? was awarded the Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair. ... more more

GoetheInstitute

06/06/2008

From the Feuilletons

From the Feuilletons is a weekly overview of what's been happening in the German-language cultural pages and appears every Friday at 3 pm. CET.. Here a key to the German newspapers.

Berliner Zeitung 06.06.2008

Boris Herrmann reveals how the powerful German tabloid publishers Axel Springer has staged a fake Euro 2008 war between Germany and Poland. The Springer-owned Polish tabloid Fakt collaged an image of the Poland national trainer Leo Beenhaaker looming behind German captain Michael Ballack, his sword ready to strike: "Take us back to Grunwald, Leo" the headline blares, in reference to the Polish victory against German knights in 1410. The Springer-owned German tabloid, Bild Zeitung, then feigned outrage at this Polish affront. "The more poisoned arrows, the better, for Springer Verlag. The more the so-called Euro2008 war escalates, the longer Fakt and Bild can battle it out in their headlines – to the satisfaction of the sales department of the parent company. Alfred Draxler, deputy editor-in-chief of the Bild talked on Spiegel online about 'healthy in-house pluralism'. In-house pluralism is not a bad way to describe the sort of pseudo journalism, which stages reality, only to make a story about it." Today the Bild is up in arms again about Fakt: "No end in sight to their hectoring".


Rheinischer Merkur 06.06.2008

In an interview with Hans-Joachim Neubauer, Günter Grass, back from a German-Russian writers' meeting, jumps to Putin's defence: "We have to take into account that Russia has never had the chance to practise democracy. Not only Putin, but Gorbachev too, came from the secret police. In a closed dictatorial system, all the best minds work in the secret service."


Jungle World 06.06.2998

Doris Akrap talks to Austrian cabaret artist Lukas Resetarits about the great question of left-wing humour. "It exists in Austria. But the worse thing that every entered the world of political cabaret, was German '68 cabaret. This left-wing humour can't even depress the audience, because it's already in a waking coma."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
06.06.2008

Karen Krüger and Hans-Christian Rößler talk to Sudanese translator Daoud Hari (publishers website), who reports as an eye witness on the genocide in Dafur. He still can't believe that no one is intervening to stop the killing, and he blames China for continuing to deliver weapons to the regime. "What China is doing in Darfur has nothing to do with politics, it's a crime. There are hardly any images of the killings in Darfur. It has become much too dangerous for journalists enter the country and so everything is taking place in the dark. I can't understand how any one can watch the Olympic Games when there is a bloodbath happening in Darfur. No Germans should go to Bejing for the Games and they should try to prevent anyone else from going."


Die Welt 06.06.2008

Berthold Seewald visited an exhibition of the treasures of the Burgundian court – gold and silverware, carpets, jewellery, reliquary, bibles, and liturgical vestments – in Bern, all of which was looted by Swiss armies in the 15th century before the country converted to a business model: "While their neighbours continued to slaughter one other, the Swiss started storing treasure, in museums, but also in the cellars of banks in Zurich's Bahnhofstraße."


Die Tageszeitung
05.06.2008

This year's prestigious Peace Prize of the German Book Trade has been awarded to the artist Anselm Kiefer. Literary editor, Dirk Knipphals, approves of the idea of awarding the prize for non-written intellectual accomplishments, but only in theory: "In the statement issued by the jury explaining its decision, there is a sentence which will dampen any enthusiasm for the choice: 'Kiefer appeared at an ideal moment in history to transcend the post-war dictate of non-committal and non-concrete representation.' This has nothing to do with furthering peace; the Peace Prize is simply being used to tip the scales in the debate about abstract and avant-garde art."

Writing for die Welt, however, Eckhard Fuhr praises the jury for its courageous decision. "There's no way of knowing whether Kiefer approaches the national myths with critical intent or whether is using them to play his artist's game. If such a thing could be decided, Kiefer, alongside Gerhard Richter, would not be Germany's greatest contemporary artist."


Frankfurter Rundschau 05.06.2008

Ursula Baus describes how the Chinese adventures of a German architects office, netzwerkarchitekten, went terribly wrong. "Together with the engineering company Jaakko Pöyry Infra, netzwerkarchitekten entered and won a competition to design the new M5 metro line in Bejing. The station, which has now been built, looks almost identical to the designs on the outside, but its interior is catastrophic. And the prizewinners have neither been credited as creators, not did they receive the 8,000 euro prize money, and they were certainly not commissioned to provide the planning service for the station."


Die Zeit
05.06.2008

In conversation with Hanno Rauterberg, architect Rem Koolhaas defends his Chinese state TV tower against a spleenish media and in the process, delivers up a shining example of dialectical hypocrisy. "The West is critical, only critical... We just have to recognise that China has no tradition of individual rights." And then he goes on to blame the media for making him what he is: "Who invented star architects? The media, with its insatiable appetite for sensation and images. This has had a huge influence on people's expectations of architects. They are no longer called upon to design well-considered, complex buildings; they have to deliver landmarks, icons which can be marketed by the media."

Jörg Lau quotes in his blog from a speech which Islam scholar Christine Schirrmacher, was prevented from giving in Traun, Austria, on the grounds that she was Islamophobic. Here an excerpt: "It is a worrying fact that a number of Islamic organisations are actively trying to prevent anything 'negative' being published about Islam, on the grounds of discrimination. In other words, there should be a veto on anything that is not written from a Muslim point of view (a development which, in Britain for example, is far more advanced through Islamic lobbying). It remains to be seen how 'vigilantly' western society follows this development and to what extent it is prepared to defend its hard-won freedoms of the press and expression."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 04.06.2008

Lukas Wick reports on the heated debate in France (more here) that was sparked by medievalist Sylvain Gouguenheim in his book "Aristote au Mont-Saint-Michel - Les racines grecques de l'Europe chretienne". "In this book the hitherto irreproachable professor of the University of Lyon voices his doubts about the importance of Arab-Islamic civilisation in the development of European culture. The idea of a medieval Europe sinking in ignorance until it was rescued by the rediscovery of Antiquity in Arabic writings, he says, is a myth. There was never a break with Greek Antiquity in the Middle Ages, however much historians might have tried to claim the contrary."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 03.06.2008

In an tender obituary to Yves Saint Laurent Gerd Kroencke quotes one of the couturier's maxims: "The most beautiful clothes that can dress a woman are the arms of the man she loves. But for those who haven't had the fortune of finding this happiness, I am there."

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Saturday 11 - 17 December, 2010

A clutch of German newspapers launch an appeal against the criminalisation of Wikileaks. Vera Lengsfeld remembers GDR dissident Jürgen Fuchs and how he met death in his cell. All the papers were bowled over Xavier Beauvois' film "Of Gods and Men." The FR enjoys a joke but not a picnic at a staging of Stravinsky's "Rake's Progress" in Berlin. Gustav Seibt provides a lurid description of Napoleonic soap in the SZ. German-Turkish Dogan Akhanli author explains what it feels like to be Josef K.
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Colombian writer Hector Abad defends Nobel Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa against European Latin-America romantics. Wikileaks dissident Daniel Domscheit-Berg criticises the new publication policy of his former employer. The Sprengel Museum has put on a show of child nudes by die Brücke artists. The SZ takes a walk through the Internet woods with FAZ prophet of doom Frank Schirrmacher. The FAZ is troubled by Christian Thielemann's unstable tempo in the Beethoven cycle. And the FR meets China Free Press publisher, Bao Pu.
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Danish author Frederik Stjernfelt explains how the Left got its culturist ideas. Slavenka Draculic writes about censoring Angelina Jolie who wanted to make a film in Bosnia. Daniel Cohn-Bendit talks   about his friendship, falling out and reconciliation with Jean-Luc Godard. Wikileaks has caused an embarrassed silence in the Arab world, where not even al-Jazeera reported on the what the sheiks really think. Alan Posener calls for the Hannah Arendt Institute in Dresden to be shut down.
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Saturday 20 - Friday 26 November, 2010

The theatre event of the week came in a twin pack: Roland Schimmelpfennig's new play, a post-colonial "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" opened at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin and the Thalia in Hamburg. The anarchist pamphlet "The Coming Insurrection" has at last been translated into German and has ignited the revolutionary sympathies of at least two leading German broadsheets, the FAZ and the SZ. But the taz, Germany's left-wing daily, says the pamphlet is strongly right-wing. What's left and right anyway? came the reply.
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Saturday 13 - Friday 19 November, 2010

Dieter Schlesak levels grave accusations against his former friend and colleague, Oskar Pastior, who spied on him for the Securitate. Banat-Swabian author and vice chairman of the Oskar Pastior Foundation, Ernest Wichner, turns on Schlesak for spreading malicious rumours. Die Zeit portrays the Berlin rapper Harris, and the moment he knew he was German. Dutch author Cees Nooteboom meditates on the near lust for physical torture in the paintings of Francisco de Zurburan. An exhibition in Mannheim displays the dream house photography of Julius Schulman.
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Saturday 6 - Friday 12 November, 2010

The NZZ asks why banks invest in art. The FAZ gawps at the unnatural stack of stomach muscles in Michelangelo's drawings. The taz witnesses a giant step for the "Yugo palaver". Bernard-Henri Levy describes Sakineh Ashtiani's impending execution as a test for Iran and the west. Journalist Michael Anti talks about the healthy relationship between the net and the Chinese media. Literary academic Helmut Lethen describes how Ernst Jünger stripped the worker of all organic substances.
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Saturday 30 October - Friday 5 November, 2010

Now that German TV has just beatified Pope Pius XII, Rolf Hochmuth tells die Welt where he got the idea for his play "The Deputy". The FR celebrates Elfriede Jelinek's "brilliantly malicious" farce about the collapse of the Cologne City Archive. "Carlos" director Olivier Assayas makes it clear that the revolutionary subject is a figment of the imagination. The SZ returns from the Shanghai Expo with a cloying after-taste of sweet 'n' sour. And historian Wang Hui tells the NZZ that China's intellectuals have plenty of freedom to pose critical questions.
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Saturday 23 - Friday 29 October, 2010

Author Doron Rabinovici protests against the concessions of moderate Austrian politicians to the FPÖ: recently in Vienna, children were sent back to Kosovo at gunpoint. Ian McEwan wonders why major German novelists didn't mention the Wall. The NZZ looks through the Priz Goncourt shortlist and finds plenty of writers with more bite than Houellebecq. The FAZ outs two of Germany's leading journalists who fiercely guarded the German Foreign Ministry's Nazi past. Jens-Martin Eriksen and Frederik Stjernfelt analyse the symptoms of culturalism, left and right. Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht demonstratively yawns at German debate.
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Saturday 16 - Friday 22 October, 2010

A new book chronicles the revolt of revolting "third persons" at Suhrkamp publishers in the wild days of 1968. Necla Kelek is appalled by the speech of the very Christian Christian Wulff, the German president, in Turkey. The taz met a new faction of hardcore Palestinians who are fighting for separate sex hairdressing in Gaza. Sinologist Andreas Schlieker reports on the new Chinese willingness to restructure the heart. And the Cologne band Erdmöbel celebrate the famous halo around the frying pan.
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Saturday 9 - Friday 15 October, 2010

The FR laps up the muscular male bodies and bellies at the Michelangelo exhibition in the Viennese Albertina. The same paper is outraged by the cowardice of the Berlin exhibition "Hitler and the Germans". Mario Vargas-Llosa remembers a bad line from Sweden. Theologist Friedrich Wilhelm Graf makes it very clear that Western values are not Judaeo-Christian values. The Achse des Guten is annoyed by the attempts of the mainstream media to dismiss Mario Vargas-Llosa. The NZZ celebrates the tireless self-demolition of Polish writer and satirist Slawomir Mrozek.
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Saturday 2 - Friday 8 October, 2010

Nigerian writer Niyi Osundare explains why his country has become uninhabitable. German Book Prize winner Melinda Nadj Abonji says Switzerland only pretends to be liberal. German author Monika Maron is not sure that Islam really does belong to Germany. Russian writer Oleg Yuriev explains the disastrous effects of postmodernism on the Petersburg Hermitage. Argentinian author Martin Caparros describes how the Kirchners have co-opted the country's revolutionary history. And publisher Damian Tabarovsky explains why 2001 was such an explosively creative year for Argentina.
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Saturday 25 September - Friday 1 October

Three East German theatre directors talk about the trauma of reunification. In the FAZ, Thilo Sarrazin denies accusations that his book propagates eugenics: "I am interested in the interplay of nature and nurture." Polemics are being drowned out by blaring lullabies, author Thea Dorn despairs. Author Iris Radisch is dismayed by the state of the German novel - too much idle chatter, not enough literary clout. Der Spiegel posts its interview with the German WikiLeaks spokesman, Daniel Schmitt. And Vaclav Havel's appeal to award the Nobel prize to Liu Xiabobo has the Chinese authorities pulling out their hair.
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Saturday 18 - Friday 24 September, 2010

Herta Müller's response to the news that poet Oskar Pastior was a Securitate informant was one of overwhelming grief: "When he returned home from the gulag he was everybody's game." Theatre director Luk Perceval talks about the veiled depression in his theatre. Cartoonist Molly Norris has disappeared after receiving death threats for her "Everybody Draw Mohammed" campaign. The Berliner Zeitung approves of the mellowing in Pierre Boulez' music. And Chinese writer Liao Yiwu, allowed to leave China for the first time, explains why schnapps is his most important writing tool.
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From the Feuilletons

Saturday 10 - Friday 17 September, 2010

The poet Oskar Pastior was a Securitate informant, the historian Stefan Sienerth has discovered. Biologist Veronika Lipphardt dismisses Thilo Sarrazin's incendiary intelligence theories as a load of codswallop. A number of prominent Muslim intellectuals in Germany have written an open letter to President Christian Wulff, calling for him to "make a stand for a democratic culture based on mutual respect." And a Shell study has revealed that Germany's youth aspire to be just like their parents.
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Saturday 4 - Friday 10 September, 2010

Thilo Sarrazin has buckled under the stress of the past two weeks and resigned from the board of the Central Bank. His book, "Germany is abolishing itself", however, continues to keep Germany locked in a debate about education and immigration and intelligence. Also this week, Mohammed cartoonist Kurt Westergaard has been awarded the M100 prize for defending freedom of opinion. Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a speech at the award ceremony: "The secret of freedom is courage". The FAZ interviewed Westergaard, who expressed his disappointment that the only people who had shown him no support were those of his own class.
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