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

19/09/2008

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.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 13.09.2008

German theatre's dreams have run dry, Dirk Pilz concludes in an essay. The new post 9/11 obfuscation, has broken the once Utopia-reinforced necks of Germany's playwrights and "contemporary theatre now proclaims radical historical pessimism on a grand scale. The past is evidence for the sheer impossibility of a consistent position on historical and current events. After 9/11 and the west's reactions to it, obfuscation seems to have become a mantra that is chanted almost unquestioningly on German stages. There is no longer any chance or desire to pinpoint which side of the fence the perpetrators and criminals are sitting, because of the impossibility of drawing an unequivocal line from the tangle of causes and motives. This assumption not only smothers the possibility of a utopia, but also the responsible subject and the very concept of responsibility itself: No one is guilty, everybody is both victim and perpetrator. Under these circumstances the theatres is reduced to producing ornate transcriptions of a contradictory reality. Whose alleged immutability is subsequently cemented."


Frankfurter Rundschau
13.09.2008

Mely Kiyak finds the frenzied enthusiasm for Barack Obama deeply hypocritical in a country where he wouldn't stand a chance of becoming Bundeskanzler. "If participation means that immigrants should be politically integrated, then this country should be ashamed of the state of its political hierarchies. Because politicians of Turkish origin are making a huge effort and are spending a considerable part of their energy in fighting their way up electoral lists within their own parties. Not even half a percent of German-Turks have their own mandate. And with citizenship conditions growing more difficult by the year, they have to hear that they must speak primarily to German voters. Has anyone ever heard of a Turkish mayor? Why don't we have a single minister-president with an immigration background. Why not in federal states like North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Würtemberg or Bavaria which have the largest immigrant populations?"


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
13.09.2008

Polish author Andrzej Stasiuk spent his summer holidays in a Russian backwater where, at a safe distance he also passed by the prison camp where Mikhail Khordorkovsky is interned. "The area is ideal as a place of banishment, of isolation, of forgetting. The town came to an end as if cut by a knife. Not only a man but also a dog would be at a loss to find a hiding place in almost a hundred kilometres. Nothing grows there except grass. The steppe is nakedness. The wanderer has only his shadow for company. The only place to hide is under the earth. I think about an escapee tunnelling for months, years, even decades only to realise at the end that he would need at least an eternity to free himself. Here the very idea of escape is pointless, and the unlimited space becomes a prison."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
15.09.2008

In the "Tropics" exhibition in Berlin's Martin Gropius Bau, writes Kia Vahland, the Humboldt Forum as ethnographic collection casts its shadow before. It provides an ideal opportunity to examine the problems thrown up by exhibitions of this kind: "The objects in the non-European collections do not attest to an 'equality of the cultures' ... but in many cases are the product of violation: The masks, costumes, fantastical creatures which, in tropical societies transport the powers of nature and the ancestors, are reduced to their reified state, subjugated into cult objects and converted into market value. This however is not measured according to the original meaning of a work, but according to the difficulty of its capture, its degree of rarity."


Die Welt 17.09.2008

In an interview with Uwe Wittstock, author and entrepreneur Ernst-Wilhelm Händler explains why he sees the current finance crisis not as a failure of capitalism, but of the state: "In 2002, the Bush administration launched an initiative to encourage Americans to buy real estate. This was meant to reflate the market. To put it harshly, you might say that after the internet-bubble burst on the stock exchange, they went right ahead to create the next bubble in the property business. Which is bursting now. If the state hadn't intervened, the economic system would not be in crisis now."


Die Zeit 18.09.2008

Bernd Eichinger's "Baader Meinhof Complex" hits German screens next week. Die Zeit sent Gerhart Baum, the then minister of the interior, to watch the film – but he left the cinema having "learnt nothing new" about German terrorism. And this was not his only objection: "I would like to have seen some focus on how the constitutional state faltered in the grip of fear and emergency. Because this is the issue at stake today, and it all started during the RAF era: Our basic rights are being damaged in the fight against terror – then as now. Unfortunately we are not living in the paradisical conditions of a constitutional state as Martina Gedeck, the actress playing Meinhof told der Spiegel." (And as the entire population of Germany will know if they have looked in their letter boxes recently and opened the grey envelopes containing their new central identification numbers which will continue to be valid 20 years after their death.)


Süddeutsche Zeitung 19.09.2008

Reinhard J. Brembeck writes an obituary to the man who put the fun back into New Music. Maurizio Kagel was an avant-garde composer who fled the Peron regime in his native Argentina and emigrated to Germany in 1957. "Kagel took every acoustic readymade that came his way and turned it into a dance school for blocked ears. No musical trash was too unseemly for his sonorific world machines which were tinkered together with a far greater intricacy than their garishly grubby surfaces would have you believe."

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From the Feuilletons

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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Saturday 4 - Friday 10 December

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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Saturday 27 November - Friday 3 December

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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From the Feuilletons

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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From the Feuilletons

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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