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GoetheInstitute

04/09/2009

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.

Der Standard 28.08.2009

Why have the Austrians remained so conspicuously silent about the September 1?, Adam Krzeminski and Martin Pollack ask in this Austrian paper. "The war, which started on 1 September 1939, with the German invasion of Poland, was also an Austrian war. It was not only fought in far-off lands, in German-occupied territories, in the depths of Russia, but also on the so-called Heimatfront - where concentration camp prisoners were forced to work before the very eyes of indifferent locals."


Die Tageszeitung 29.08.2009

Brigitte Werneberg talks to the German artist Thomas Demand, whose retrospective opens in the Neuenationalgalerie in Berlin on 18 September. One of the catalogue texts is written by the writer Botho Strauß. Werneberg asks whether it was appropriate to opt for such a conservative writer? Demand's answer is unequivocal: "Do you really still foster such dichotomies? First and foremost he is a brilliant writer! That's why I asked him to contribute. And who's to say that he and I have to see eye to eye politically? The exhibition doesn't deal with this sort of thing. It's not some election rally, and in view of the subtlety of his thinking, such qualifications strike me as one dimensional. But even visitors who still believe in the relevance of such categories can cope with a little complimentarity. There's nothing to lose by reading around a bit."


Die Welt 31.08.2009

The Polish film director Andrzej Wajda looks back, in an interview, at 1 September 1939 - at the flight from the Germans, the lies told after the end of the War, and the illusions which the Polish had about their army, which was still oriented towards hand-to-hand combat. "As we fled, we came across the motorised German infantry. It was an endless column of every military technology imaginable. We'd never even dreamed of such things. I didn't anything like it again until 'Star Wars'."


Other papers 01.09.2009

In the new Cargo magazine, the Nobel literary prize laureate Elfriede Jelinek spends four pages explaining why the woman is defeated in Lars von Trier's "Antichrist". "Woman, the being who is closer to nature, who has been fought bloodily as the very embodiment of the uncanny, and is still fought as such, has no control over the arbitrary, which is central to power (her use of violence against the man, the whetstone she drives through his leg, the whetstone which sharpens all tools, the millstone which human beings are for one another, weights around each other's necks, is paradoxically a 'civilised violence' because it allows abstraction and Freudian interpretation. The man's strangling of the woman, however, is animal violence, self-defence (destroy what destroys you, as the only way to get rid of a millstone around your neck), so you might say this is closer to nature, simpler, more direct, because the man doesn't even need to sublimate in his exercise of violence. Violence is he, he is violence."


Frankfurter Rundschau 02.09.2009

In a long conversation with Li Pengyi, a leading Communist Party official and head of the state-run Commercial Press, Arno Widmann and Bernhard Bartsch attempt to find out what the term socialist market economy means. "Central government," Li Pengyi explains, "wants all publishing houses to be be free enterprises, bar four: the People's Press, the politics and Marxism publishers; the Publishing House for Tibetan Studies; the Publisher for Ethnic Minorities and finally, the Publishing House for the Blind. These four publishers need the support of the government. All the others will become free-market enterprises." Free-market ideally means "a market in the hands of the state".


Süddeutsche Zeitung 02.09.2009

Thirty years after Tito's death Slavenka Drakulic visits the Brijuni islands where the dictator had his summer residence. On the first floor of the villa is a very hagiographic photo exhibition, so she was more tickled by the second exhibition "on the ground floor - which is about his animals. For a while it was the done thing for state visitors to present Tito with wild, exotic animals as gifts. Most of them were unable to acclimatise and soon died. They were then stuffed and exhibited. Upstairs you can see photos of Tito playing with a baby orang-utan, and downstairs, view the taxidermied remains of this unfortunate animal."


Jungle World 04.09.2009

Bernd Beier talks to Karl Rössel, the curator of the Berlin exhibition, "The Third World in the Second World War", which has been the subject of heated debate since being banned from the Werkstatt der Kulturen because it documents the collaboration of the Muftis of Jerusalem with the Nazis. Rössel focuses on victims of war that have received little recognition to date, but he also says: "For the sake of historical probity, we should not pretend that the world was full of anti-facists, freedom fighters and victims, when there were collaborators right across the globe, as well as avowed fascists. The SS had willing recruits even in Third World countries, the Wehrmacht had an Arab legion and an Indian one too, and there were countless politicians from various continents who were in exile in Nazi Germany.

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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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