On the Death of Siegfried Lenz ? ?You have to justify your life?

Siegfried Lenz, one of the great writers of German post-war literature is dead. He died on 7 October 2014, surrounded by his family. He was 88 years old.... more more

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The dictator's orphans

Wednesday 31 January, 2007

Iraqi-German writer Najem Wali feels that the Arab Writers Union has a problem or two. It's overtly anti-Semitic, anti-democratic and opposed to freedom of speech. The Union doesn't realise that literature is not the product of conferences and pamphlets, but rather of freedom.
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Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 30 January, 2007

In Prospect, Francis Fukuyama asks post-modern European elites what they have to offer Muslim immigrants in the way of identity. In Al Hayat, Yassin Al-Haj Salih asks why the USA supported dissidents in Eastern Europe and despots in the Arab World. In Le Monde, a gynecologist describes his experiences helping Muslim women give birth. Tygodnik Powszechny sees Byzantium sliding closer to Brussels. And in Figaro, Paul Bocuse reminisces about the real Nouvelle Cuisine.
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Freedom cannot be decreed

Monday 29 January, 2007

Nobody is defending honour killing or female circumcision. Such crimes are matters of law enforcement. Trickier is the question of how to prevent mainstream Muslims from being infected with violent ideologies. Ian Buruma responds to Pascal Bruckner. (Image © Stefan Heijdendael)
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Roller coaster in the dark

Thursday 25 January, 2007

Thomas Pynchon's latest novel "Against the Day" got panned by critics in the USA. Denis Scheck sees this as evidence of rampant anti-intellectualism. He maintains that the book is a masterpiece: a swan song to anarchism, an incisive look at post 9/11 America, and a hilarious romp through literary genres.
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Enlightenment fundamentalism or racism of the anti-racists?

Wednesday 24 January, 2007

Ayaan Hirsi Ali doesn't only look beautiful, she also invokes Voltaire. This is too much for Ian Buruma and Timothy Garton Ash, who call her an "Enlightenment fundamentalist." But their idea of multiculturalism amounts to legal apartheid. By Pascal Bruckner
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Magazine Roundup

Tusaday 23 January, 2007

In Le Figaro, philosopher Remi Brague explains the sense and nonsense of the Heidegger debate, which reappears regularly every 20 years. Amir Taheri asks in Asharq Al-Awsat what Pope Benedict XVI means when he calls freedom a "mythical value." In The Guardian, Nick Cohen asks why the Left only supports fascist regimes. Outlook India murmers "poor Brits" after a Big Brother scandal. Joseph Stiglitz defends Hugo Chavez' economic recipe in Gazeta Wyborcza. And composer Ivan Madarasz talks about music and higher world orders in Nepszabadsag.
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Building for the bad

Monday 22 January, 2007

Be it in St. Petersburg, Beijing or Dubai, the stars of international architecture are only too happy to work for tyrants and autocrats. Although some German contractors active in China seem to feel a sense of unease, the profitability and the quick emancipation right after the planning phase are powerful magnets. Yet precisely these might make the terrain a museum of structural damage. By Alexander Hosch
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No frills woman

Thursday 18 January, 2007

Maren Kroymann made a name for herself doing stand-up. Now she shines in Angelina Maccarone's film "Verfolgt" (pursued) as the older lover in an S&M relationship. The plot description is enough to make most people wince but the film is an exercise in restraint. It also won the Golden Leopard in Locarno in 2006. By Liane von Billerbeck
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Romania's collective amnesia

Wednesday 17 January, 2006

On January 1, Romania became a member of the EU. While the country has managed to comply with most accession criteria, it has not been able to do away with Securitate, the invidious secret service of the former dictatorship. Romanian-German author Herta Müller takes a closer look.
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Magazine Roundup

Tuesday January 16, 2007

Burn the burqa! Taslima Nasrin demands in Outlook India. Hungarian bishops should follow the example set by their Polish colleagues, Nepszabadsag writes wishfully. Vanity Fair looks at the rich white knights who are riding to the rescue of the newspapers. In Folio, anthropologist Nigel Barley recounts how he narrowly escaped having his penis peeled. The New Yorker portrays the only Al Qaida operative to use Monopoly metaphors. In Reportajes, arms dealer Carlos Cardoes describes Saddam Hussein's well-balanced personality. Il Foglio tells of the war of succession between the two octogenarian casino moguls of Macau. And in Al Hayat, the writer Ghalia Qabban is angered by the Tehran Holocaust conference.
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Germany: a mindset

Monday 15 January, 2006

Germany as a culture does not correspond to the German nation. Which means that the much-quoted truth that the Germans were united by their literature or their language has always also been a lie. For German-Iranian writer Navid Kermani the most German of German writers is none other than Franz Kafka.
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Departed and betrayed

Thursday 11 January, 2007

Martin Scorsese's "The Departed" is the story of two cops as mirror-image doppelgangers. But it is a doppelganger itself, a remake of the Hong Kong film "Infernal Affairs." While the original is a masterwork of playfulness, the remake confounds police genre and psycho junk. By Ekkehard Knörer
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Adolf on the couch

Wednesday 10 January, 2006

Pop culture has long made a joke of the Führer, while German mainstream culture has been a little more reserved. With "Mein Führer," Dani Levy presents a Hitler to laugh and cry at. According to Harald Martenstein, this only sort of works.
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Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 9 January, 2007

Lebanese, Iraqi and Syrian authors explain in Al Hayat why Saddam Hussein's execution was a mistake. In Espresso, Tahar Ben Jalloun fumes that the Americans failed to hang Augusto Pinochet as well. The Gazeta Wyborcza asks the Catholic Church to do a little cleaning up. In Die Weltwoche, Hans-Ulrich Wehler requests a little more bite from his students. And in the New York Times, the writer Richard Powers explains how he speaks his books.
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Historicising the historians

Monday 8 January, 2006

Historian Norbert Frei invited specialists of the National Socialist era to Jena for a kind of family reunion. At debate was the history of the historians of National Socialism and the question of when, and if, the notion of objectivity begins to apply. By Stefan Reinecke
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A bridge to Chechnya

Friday 5 January, 2007

One fifth of the population of Chechnya has died in the war there. The West has played deaf. Studies Without Borders is the initiative of a few French students to bring Chechen students to Europe to study. A drop of hope in an ocean of indifference. By Andre and Raphael Glucksmann.
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Modern and mythless: Turkey today

Thursday 4 January, 2007

The country is like a prefabricated building on historic land. With Turkey's opening to the West, the question is: What is supplanting the Islamic mysticism which, for centuries, provided the inspiration for that country’s music and literature? By Zafer Senocak
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Farewell to spice and curry

Wednesday 3 January, 2006

Once relegated to the minor leagues of the "developing world", India is now rising to the status of a leading power - and not only technologically and economically. Its ongoing social revolution is reflected in the literary realm as well. Claudia Kramatschek introduces a new generation of writers, a far cry from the country's senior cultural ambassadors of yesteryear.
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Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 2 January, 2007

The London Review of Books has an idea why Hannah Arendt's critique of careerism is being ignored. In ScienceGuide, Frits van Oostrom wonders why the Dutch have no Churchills, Walesas or Mandelas. Literaturen dwells on Islam as the religion of the servant class. The Economist describes the French as the true conversation artists. In Le Point, Kenzabure Oe wishes Japan would adopt the French model of cultural hybridisation. In Elet es Irodalom, Peter Nadas ponders the nature of the European identity. And in New Yorker, Julian Barnes explains how the last dregs of his faith were driven out of him.
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