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11/06/2010

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.

Süddeutsche Zeitung 05.06.2010

Christine Dössel sat through all 12 hours of Peter Stein's production of Dostoevsky's "The Demons" in Vienna.¬† Although not a fan of the director, she was won over. "You could criticise him for not wanting to say anything in particular but instead, as Beckett would say, 'only everything'. Stein has not tried to make grand statements or embark on feats of the imagination, he just takes us through the novel chapter for chapter, with a horde of Italian actors. And because the novel is so damn good and the majority of the actors are also excellent, that is enough to carry this epic literary reclamation." The play, which has an all-Italian cast and is spoken entirely in Italian, will tour Amsterdam, Naples, Ravenna, Athens and New York.


Spiegel Online
07.06.2010

Marcel Reich-Ranicki, the influential Polish-born literary critic has been awarded the Börne medal for lifetime achievement. Spiegel Online documents the speech given by Henryk Broder at the award ceremony. Broder does not stop at praise, but asks the great man to speak out against the new anti-Israel movement in Gemany: "Still trembling at my own audacity, I have a question for you. You were in the Warsaw Ghetto... Does it not give you goosebumps when people compare conditions in Gaza with those in the Warsaw Ghetto? Are you not overtaken by fury and a desire to leave your home in German literature for a moment, and put your head outside into the streets which are not occupied by the friends of Heine and Höderlin strolling under linden trees, but with Hamas and Hezbollah supporters shouting "Zionists out of Palestine!"?


Süddeutsche Zeitung
07.06.2010

A German book featuring photographs by Alberto Giuliani has incurred much wrath in Italy, Maike Albath reports. "Malacarne" contains Giuliani's photographs from the scenes of mafia crimes, which are intended as indictments, but the book also contain CDs of mafia songs: "The heroic songs contribute to an aesthetification of the mafia. The opulence of the boo,k with its crimson-coloured satellite images of Palermo and quotes from interrogation records left uncommented in outsize type, also seem to stem from a singular fascination."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
08.06.2010

"Schumann is lost to the world of music," is the opening sentence of Reinhard Brembeck's excellent essay on the relevance of the composer on the 200th anniversary of his birth. Later Brembeck writes: "His banishment from paradise left Schumann with only a memory, and this constant longing for the idlyll found its way into so many of his compositions. But the solace of this much-trumpeted idyll is bitter, because its sounds formulate it only as an unreachable chimera."


Perlentaucher 09.06.2010

The idea of universal human rights has become ever more obsolete writes Caroline Fourest for Perlentaucher, and, ironically, Western liberals have been a key force in its dismantling. "At the United Nations, the states cite 'national circumstances' as grounds for making exceptions to the application of the universal declaration of human rights. In the name of anti-imperialism left-wing activists denigrate universalism as neo-colonialism."


Der Freitag 10.06.2010

Frank Fischer describes Pierre Assouline as the French Reich-Ranicki, although he really is something else: the first literary critic in the world to have risen to fame through a blog (albeit Le Monde-owned): "When he compares the literary talents of Churchill and de Gaulle, 1,200 readers' comments follow. When he writes about Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt and his work as translator, another 1,000 respond. And his polemic about Alan Robbe-Grillet's final and highly controversial novel elicits no less than 900 reactions."


Die Welt 10.06.2010

The paper prints Bernard-Henri Levy's article from Haaretz in which he calls for a halt to the demonisation of Israel: "The catchphrase being trotted out ad nauseum refers to the blockade imposed 'by Israel.' The most elementary honesty, however, requires one to make clear that this blockade has been undertaken by both Israel and Egypt, conjointly, along the borders of the two countries that share frontiers with Gaza, and with the thinly disguised blessing of all the moderate Arab regimes. Saying the blockade has been imposed by Israel alone can only be described as disinformation."


Die Zeit 10.06.2010

Whether or not it has a right to exist, Israel bears the greatest responsibility for peace in the Middle East, Daniel Barenboim says in an interview. Because it is stronger than the Palestinians: "If I am a Jew in the Warsaw Ghetto, and I have an old crust of bread which is completely inedible, and an SS officer walks by and I throw the crust at his feet and say: 'This is good enough for you but not for me' - this is a fantastic act of resistance. But if I am an Israeli solder in the occupied West Bank with the same crust of bread in my hand, and a starving Palestinian walks by and I throw it in front of him, and say the same thing? It's just not acceptable."


Die Tageszeitung
11.06.2010

Pawel Leszkowicz, curator of "Ars Homo Erotica" a large exhibition in the Warsaw Museum, talks about the Polish attitude to homosexuality, homo eroticism in antiquity and the hate mail he has recieved: "Much has changed in Poland in the last ten years. In 2000, when I and thirty gay and lesbian couples were photographed holding hands we were all, my partner and myself included, hit with a wave of hatred. We were genuinely scared. People hurled stones at the Good As You paraders. In Krakow, people even threw acid at them. But now, a decade later, things have changed. I do not intend the exhibition as a provocation. And I don't think that Polish society today will regard it as such."


Die Welt 11.06.2010

Tilman Krause welcomes the decision to award this year's Peace Prize of the German Book Trade to Israeli writer David Grossman. Grossman teaches us "that it is possible to be both peace activist and patriot, advocate of an Israeli-Palestinian compromise ‚Äď and a Zionist at the same time."

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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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