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GoetheInstitute

13/03/2009

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 07.03.2009

Next week, historian Karl Schlögel will receive the Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding. Joachim Güntner talks in depth with Schlögel about his last book, "Terror und Traum" (Terror and Dream). Schlögel explains how he makes Stalinism comprehensible for his students. "As postwar children, my students are just as clueless as I am. They don't know what violence, hunger, and adversity mean. In order to generate at least some awareness of the problem, we undertake a few imaginary endeavors. For example, I read them reports from the Gulag by Varlam Shalamov. I want to give them an idea of what it means to work at minus 40 degrees without being able to recuperate. How one survives for a certain time, even if only for a month. And then I formulate the rule: 'Please, no discussions about Stalinism without the cold'."


Die Tageszeitung 10.03.2009

The founding of a state is always an act of violence, says Klaus Bittermann. So why reprimand the Israelis of all people? "Of course it would have been fairer to the Palestinians if, for example, Bavaria had been made available to the Jews for the founding of Israel, but it's no use mourning this missed opportunity. The decisive question is: How does Israel treat its minorities? Certainly not to the satisfaction of the minorities, but better than any other state that sees itself threatened by rebels or perhaps even by an imaginary danger. This is the usual justification for repressing and murdering ethnic minorities in countless countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia - and on a much greater scale than in Israel. And yet it's Israel that gets condemned again and again, in 25 percent of all UN resolutions. As if a territory the size of Hessen were home to 25 percent of global injustice."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 10.03.2009

Sybille Lewitscharoff
has just won the Leipzig Book Fair Award for her novel "Apostoloff". Paul Jandl obviously derived much pleasure from the book's "healthy anger" which never makes the "lazy compromise of irony": "How dull are the modulations of love compared with those of hate? What are words of infatuation against those of disillusionment? Enough novels chart the beautiful sentiments of a posterity trembling after the dead, but Sybille Lewitscharoff goes for full-blown heresy. Hate is the driving force behind this breathless reckoning of a daughter with her father. And it masks all her affection. From the back seat of the Daihatsu in which two sisters are driven through Bulgaria, we hear a relentless monologue. 'Hatred of the father and hatred of the homeland are melded into one and kept simmering away defiantly. Bulgaria? Father? One snap-action mechanism.' The journey leads through the desolate cities of Veliko Tarnovo, Arbanassi, Varna and Plovdiv. And on into a father-daughter story which is also an exercise in self-knowledge. 'I must have been a dreadfully humourless child,' intones the voice in the back of the car."


Frankfurter Rundschau 12.03.2009

"Dispossess the dispossessors," cries literary academic Roland Reuß, outraged by the lethargic authors and publishing houses who aren't blocking GoogleBooks: "What's this all about? It's about the forcible attempt at transforming the right of disposal, which was won over the course of a long trial, into a mere right of veto via simple proceedings and thereby settle the collateral damage with riduculous financial payments. Google goes about this more and more brazenly and is collectively depriving the European book production of its spiritual and material basis. And I'm not just referring to the case of finding a volume of letters from our Kleist edition (Letters Vol. 1, 1793-1801), completely scanned and treated with OCR software, on the server of GoogleBooks a few months ago. Here, one could still assume - as is particular to this mindless breed of piracy - that the title was taken for the date of publication. But I also glimpsed a Klett-Cotta volume of Goethe as a so-called full text with 1693 as the date of publication!"


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 13.03.2009

Paul Jandl visited Christoph Schlingensief, who is at Vienna's Burgtheater rehearsing the second part of his autobiographical trilogy, "Mea Culpa", which he began last year after being diagnosed with cancer. "Schlingensief is at least hoping to land in good company when he reaches the afterlife. 'I'd love to meet Bunuel in heaven, because of the obvious affection with which he describes his characters. Bunuel greatly enjoyed looking at women's legs but he also wanted to show the dissolution of humanity. The people in his films are always deeply alone. I feel a close connection with his work.' On this note, Schlingensief's actors have all been given a 'licence to suffer'. Seldom is this new soft approach broken by impatience. 'Please think ahead a little,' his words are directed at the stage where Irm Herrmann, Fritzi Haberland, Mira Partecke und Joachim Meyerhoff are standing. 'Beuys said: Praise more than reprimand! At the moment I want to give out less less criticism and have to swallow less as well.'"

Peter Handke's affection for Serbia is undiminshed, but he has become more thoughtful and nostalgic. Kosovar writer Beqe Cufaj read Handke's new book about his visit last spring to the Serbian enclave in Kosovo "Die Kuckucke von Velika Hoca" (the cuckoo of Velika Hoca). "The book will satisfy those readers who are interested in Handke but not the Balkans. I'm not one of them. For readers who love the Balkans, who have been blessed or cursed by the Balkans, who feel a connection to them, they will sense something missing. Postwar countries are postwar countries because they have people in them who took to the barricades or lay in the trenches. War and peace, this travel book tells us, once the spring comes everything can breathe again. These are the words of a postwar writer."


Die Welt 13.03.2009

Hanns-Georg Rodek looks at the connection between school shootings and pop culture. The Boomtown Rats song 'I Don't Like Mondays' refers to 16-year old girl who shot her fellow pupils in 1979. "Perhaps it's not primarily computer games and violent films which condition the school killers of today and tomorrow. It could also have something to do with the drift into the virtual world. The mouse-click is increasingly replacing personal experience. Investment bankers also destroyed thousands of lives with a click, but these destinies remain abstract – and killing has become similarly abstract for classroom killers. The crime contains a combination of the two: the virtual drill which lowers barriers – and the urge to try things out in the real world."

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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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From the Feuilletons

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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From the feuilletons

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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From the Feuilletons

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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From the Feuilletons

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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From the Feuilletons

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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From the Feuilletons

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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From the Feuilletons

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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From the Feuilletons

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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From the Feuilletons

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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From the feuilletons

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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From the Feuilletons

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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