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GoetheInstitute

27/11/2009

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 21.11.2009

This summer, for the first time, two freighters navigated the Northern Sea Route, unaccompanied by ice-breakers. The Danish writer Jens Christian Gröndahl reflects on what this means for Scandinavians: "The arduous summer journey of the two freighters is almost like a deflowering of the impassibility of the North, and it leaves Scandinavians with the estranged and homeless sensation that suddenly the earth has turned out to be round after all."

Die Welt 24.11.2009

Johnny Erling reports from the Chinese art market, where art works from the Mao era are selling like hot cakes, with collectors falling over themselves to get into auction houses: "They have an astonishing answer as to why they are so interested in painting and agitprop from a time in which there was no artistic freedom and in which, during the Anti-Rightist Movement, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, millions were persecuted or lost their lives: 'Red art and its revolutionary idealism is a closed area of collection that will not expand.' And, they say, is guaranteed to increase in value: 'For the leading painters from that time, there is only one price trend: upwards.'"


Frankfurter Rundschau
24.11.2009

Hans-Klaus Jungheinrich writes with exhilaration about the production of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's operetta "The Dead City" in Frankfurt (listen here). Korngold, who has suddenly been welcomed into high culture after being written off as a film composer, penned the score in 1920 at the age of 23. "The interesting, if sometimes rather cliche-laden subject matter (based on the novel "Bruges-la-Morte" by Georges Rodenbach) gains a morbid piquancy through the Bruges metaphor. In the music, you can literally taste and smell the putrefaction, the emptiness in the houses and back streets that are inhabited only by ghosts and rats, and the mould that is devouring the city. Korngold's music, which is characterised by unparalleled craftsmanship, conveys this perfectly: ostentatiousness and its rotting, the sunny and the shadowy past, the disillusionment in the oversaturated rush of sound."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 25.11.2009

From Geneva, Jürg Altwegg reports on the French cabinet as a constant source of romantic and political suprises, and which bears all the hallmarks of Sarkozy's policy of "opening": "Sarkozy has been rubbing shoulders with culture, the enemy, both privately and politically. His marriage to Carla Bruni brought left-wing intellectuals and artists into his circle of friends. With the appointment of Frederic Mitterand, his sophisticated games with boundaries and taboos gained a sexual dimension. The cabinet stands absolutely united behind the homosexual minister, who has outlined his relations with call boys in prose. In this hour of truth, the government has closed ranks with the cultural elite."


Der Tagesspiegel
26.11.2009

"Something is rotten in the state of theatre!" cries Rüdiger Schaper, outlining his misgivings about recent productions in Berlin. "Business is running smoothly – and running on empty. In the current climate, it might be dangerous to lay into art and artists; in Wuppertal and Oberhausen, the theatres are fighting for their lives. But the deadly boredom in paradise is impossible to bear or ignore. It's as if our best theatres had unplugged themselves from reality. They are in danger of losing their narrative powers. Their own crisis manifests itself in the failure to deal with the bigger crisis."


Die Zeit
26.11.2009

In a year when advertising revenues dropped by 20 percent, Anita Blasberg and Götz Hamann have compiled a dossier on the remains of the newspaper. Their story begins in Anklam, where, in a recent session, the city council decided to fire the mayor over alleged corruption, and the only reporter in the room was from the Nordkurier. In the communal hall, the head of the far-right NPD piped up: 'I expect a thorough investigation, ladies and gentlemen!' His young, tattooed colleague sitting next to him, nodded. The NPD is as strong as the SPD here. The strongest faction, however, is a party of local businessmen, the mayor's party. This is 17389 Anklam, on the outermost reaches of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. On the edge of democracy. The Nordkurier, of the Neubrandenburger Kurier publishing group, is the last independent local newspaper in the area. The competition, the Ostseezeitung, shut down four years ago because it was too expensive for its publishers. Only the Anklamer Bote is going from strength to strength. And this, in turn, has spawned a number of spin-offs, such as the Greifwalder Bote, the Bote for Usedom and the Stralsunder Bote. Like the Anklamer Bote, all of these are free papers from an initiative with close ties to the NPD."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 26.11.2009

A year after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, the writer Kiran Nagakar is sick to the teeth of incompetent and corrupt authorities. "A full-scale 'gang war' is being waged in the Mumbai police force. Loyalties do not stretch to troops, but stop at individual warring officers from the same caste and community (...) When will the Indians stop tolerating the endless chicanery, manipulation and subterfuge scandals of their politicians. When was the last time that a statesman, chief of police or high-ranking official notorious for their involvement with corruption, was brought to account?"


Süddeutsche Zeitung 27.11.2009

Johannes Kuhn interviews the psychologist Peter Kruse about the idea, expounded by Frank Schirrmacher, the publisher of the Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung, in his latest book "Payback" - that the Internet is destroying our brains. Schirrmacher was recently interviewed at Edge as one of the 'big thinkers' on the subject. "On almost every page of 'Payback' you feel the author's discomfort at the prospect of real or feared loss of control: Herr Schirrmacher clearly represents the idea that it is up to the individual to subordinate, dominate or at least prevail over the world – all a question of good management."

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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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