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

GoetheInstitute

26/03/2010

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.

Die Welt 20.03.2010

In Hong Kong, the writer Marko Martin met Chinese poet Bei Dao, who started off by telling him how much he misses Berlin. "I think it's normal. After 1989, after my time in West Berlin and during the long years in the USA, I was publishing one volume of poems after the next and my friend Wolfgang Kubin translated many of them into German. And now? My poems are available again in China (note that Bei Dao refers to the mainland as opposed to the motherland). Private publishers are able to circumvent the censors and get them onto the chaotic market in their tens of thousands, for which they pay the state a fine, but they don't pay me, and the state.... Well, after a number of brief, strictly monitored visits between 2010 and 2004, it was decided that I should not be allowed to return."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 20.03.2010

Jürgen Kuri assistant editor-in-chief of c't, explains why web filters are so important, and why only social networks have the power to counteract the Google algorithm: "Algorithms are not moral and not intelligent. Algorithmic filters lead to mainstreaming, which smacks of the Matthew effect: "To all those who have, more will be given". Things that are known are strengthened by repetition and more versions of the same; the unknown things and things that don't conform are blended out. But user behaviour on social networks demonstrates that filters can work differently. The network of relations between circles of friends on Facebook and groups of followers on Twitter, creates a social filter of tips, links, retweets, statements and comments."


Die Welt 23.03.2010

The theatre director Christoph Schlingensief looks back on his wonderful time in Bayreuth with Wolfgang Wagner (Richard's grandson) who died aged 90 on March 22. "In the first two years, I met Pierre Boulez and had the opportunity to learn from him, and then witness the new Parsifal singer coming to life, suddenly becoming a real person. In my third year, I saw how some of the singers, who had critcised the opera house, were suddenly no longer included in talks about contract extensions and were subsequently replaced – those were magic moments in my musical education!"


Die Welt 25.03.2010

Thomas von der Osten-Sacken cannot understand the lack of public and political support in the West for the "green movement" in Iran. After all, a show of solidarity with the protesters and sanctions on the regime would benefit the entire region. "Without the big brother in Tehran, the Hisbollah in Lebanon would be forced to become a normal party, the Assads in Damascus would have to pack their luxury bags and Hamas might just have to allow a little pluralism into its world view. What is at stake here is nothing less that the future of the Middle East, and a key building block for peace in the region. Not to mention the Iranian nuclear programme."


Die Zeit 25.03.2010

In 1999, the Frankfurter Rundschau ran a story about the routine sex abuse of pupils at the Odenwaldschule, a secular and progressive educational boarding school in Hessen. In a dossier entitled "silence of the men", Die Zeit asks why everybody kept quiet: upper-class parents, teachers, the children, too, for a long time, the public prosecution department and the media. Neither Bild, Süddeutsche, FAZ, Welt , Spiegel nor Zeit decided to report on the sexual misconduct of former headmaster Gerold Becker. "Suspicions have also been raised in progressive educationalist circles that someone was preventing information from reaching 'higher levels of the press'. The headmaster Gerold Becker and his partner, Hartmut von Hentig, had influential contacts in the newspaper world, Die Zeit among them. The late Countess Dönhoff, who published Die Zeit for many years, was a friend of Hentig's."

"What's it got to do with me?" came the reply from Hartmut von Hentig, Germany's most prominent educator of the post-war era whose partner, the now terminally ill Gerold Becker, sexually abused children at the Odenwaldshule during his time as headmaster (1972 -1985). Hentig denies all knowledge of the abuse. He also wonders why the victims didn't talk up earlier." I am just a layman in this Freudian territory. In the 19th century when women took their cramps, paralysis and impaired consciousness to the grand master in Vienna, he had a preference and good reason for seeking out the causes in the unlit corners of sexual experiences and desires. This is what I told the Süddeutche Zeitung – and why, now, I am being accused of ridiculing the victims." (Read more of Hentig's reply in German here).

Charlotte Wiedemann writes an excellent essay on the dispute between South Africa and Arab Africa over the influence of Timbuktu (and its fabulous library). "Since it was founded in the 12th century Timbuktu was a Muslim city. (...) Every second African today is a Muslim; a fact which is often overlooked. There is a document in Mali's national museum which contains these remarkable words on the subject: With the creation of an indigenous class of Muslim scholars 'Islam ceased to be the religion of a white foreigner and became an African religion."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
26.03.2010

"The intellect is transient," writes Michael Hutter, the director of the exotic-sounding Cultural Sources of Newness department at the Social Science Research Center, Berlin, in an appeal to close the chapter on the "Gothic tale about intellectual theft". "The intellect cannot be stolen, at worst it is misappropriated – as when you sneak into a concert without having paid... Intellectual content – stories, songs, images in all possible combinations – do not disappear when misappropriated."

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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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