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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27/09/2011

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Magazine Roundup, which appears every Tuesday at 12 p.m., is originally published by Perlentaucher.

Eurozine 23.09.2011 (Austria)

Are only true witnesses allowed to write about the camps, war, and extermination? Has "the age of the Gulag literature that took our breath away" now passed along with Levi, Shalamov, and Kertesz, as Zeit editor Iris Radisch claims in her critique of Herta Müller's novel "Atemschaukel" (soon to be published in English as "Everything I Possess I Carry with Me"). Swedish author Steve Sem-Sandberg, whose novel "The Emperor of Lies" was recently published in English, vehemently counters this opinion: "Instead of talking about the war, and the actual victims of war, we restrict ourselves shamelessly to our own way of relating to what happened, often with self-flagellating phrases along the lines of: 'who am I to talk about...', 'what right have I to...' etc, as though the whole discussion of what made the Holocaust possible only becomes tangible when it can be linked back to some psychological problem within ourselves. This is cowardly. We demand of every testimony that it shall be authentic. But by insisting that only those who personally experienced something have a right to tell the story, we are saying that we are not at heart touched by it, that it is possible to draw a line between us and them. Because they are victims, and thus by definition beyond our own horizon of understanding, then the only attitude demanded of us is that of noncommittal genuflection."


Le Monde 24.09.2011 (France)

The left is no longer the left, complains the sociologist with the wonderful name of Geoffroy de Lagasnerie in an essay for Le Monde that is well worth the read. And the left, from the moderate left to the radical and fashionable philosophy a la Badiou, gives itself away with its anti-liberalism, which it presents as a critique of neoliberalism. For Lagasnerie, what is actually at work is a hidden authoritarianism: "And so it is that the logic of the market and personal interest develops at the cost of a faith in morals, religion, the state, politics, et cetera. These guiding forces are losing their binding power. And widespread disobedience is then seen as having catastrophic consequences." In response Lagasnerie demands: "We must firmly position ourselves on the side of disorder, dissonance and emancipation."


Polityka 23.09.2022 (Poland)

Polish youth are becoming more and more like their western counterparts, reports (here in German) Wawrzyniec Smocznyksi after reading the governmental report "Mlodzi 2011". They are individualist, hedonistic – and unemployed. In Poland, too, joblessness among the youth is twice the average; the majority of young people work with short-term contracts or have unpaid internships: "Whereas young Poles still have hopes of wealth and upward mobility, their peers in France, Spain, and Greece are slowly giving up such dreams. The threat of a lost generation is looming over developed countries, the first generation since World War II to be potentially less prosperous than the one before it. Heralding this social crisis are the disturbances where young people have taken part: burning Parisian suburbs, street battles in the heart of Athens, mass demonstrations in Madrid and, most recently, the riots in London. Warsaw is not threatened by such scenes, but Poland is turning the same corner into a dead-end situation."


L'Espresso 21.09.2011 (Italy)

Umberto Eco takes a stand for the universities, which in his opinion are being subjected to an unparalleled defamation campaign by the head of government, Silvio Berlusconi. "If you want to see how much the universities annoy the premier you should take a look at www.governoberlusconi.it. There the Italian government vehemently rails against the university, an institution that, after all, does at least partly rely directly on the government. It's as if the government were to attack the military...The debates on the particulars of the reforms of (Education Minister) Maria Stelli Gelmini and the incomprehensible but nevertheless daily attacks on the courts by Berlusconi have made us forget that Berlusconi is also waging battle against the universities, refuges of critical thinking that bother him. The budget cuts are crippling the universities, and everywhere they are bombarded by terrible reports about professors who give good grades to the students they are sleeping with, while others are putting their sisters, wives, and lovers at the head of the lecture halls. This is accompanied by international rankings in which Italian universities are dropping to the level of Burkina Faso."


Berliner Zeitung 26.09.2011 (Germany)

At the Berlin Maxim Gorki Theatre Armin Petras has produced a play of Jonathan Littel's controversial Holocaust novel "The Kindly Ones" (more here). Ulrich Seidler, who frankly considers the novel highly problematic, found the evening surprisingly "tolerable": "Instead of juiciness and identification Armin Petras opts for aestheticisation and reflection. A huge mirror, tilted slightly towards the seats closes off the arch of the stage. In the mirror, logically, it's us, the audience. And also Peter Kurth as Max Aue, who was able to flee after assuming the false identity of his friend, killing and mutilating him in the process...In front of the mirror, on a raised not very deep platform is where young Aue (Max Simonischek) and vaguely identified, sketchy minor characters play their parts. This allows for a mental ping-pong of shifting identities and times: he/we, then/now – everything is taking place at the same time; the perspectives intersect. Later the mirror folds down to create a crevice offering a view into the depths of the stage, where a Scythian death wagon circles."


Telerama 23.09.2011 (France)

In the summer of 2010, before the "Jasmine Revolution" and the fall of dictator Ben Ali, Tunisian film director Nadia El Fani used her camera to put forward a risky suggestion – the introduction of laicism. Mathilde Blottiere discusses the documentary "Laicite inch'Allah", which the filmmaker comments on in three selected excerpts. In the minor everyday encounters that she documented without hiding her camera the filmmaker's approach is confrontational: "When I mention the topic of Ramadan I notice that the taxi driver responds positively. I turn on the camera and tell him that I am an atheist. In Tunisia this is a subversive confession, but as a filmmaker I am willing to engage in this provocation. My purpose is not to smooth the ruffles of society but to stir things up and incite new ideas."


Highlights from the Anglo-American press

The Morning Call reports how Amazon's low prices are paid for in sweat. New Republic asks whether ebooks are continuous works-in-process.  In The New York Review of Books, George Soros adds his two cents about the future of the euro. The New York Times reviews Neal Sephenson's new novel that includes a Chinese hacker and a British jihadist, and the magazine reports extensively from Libya on how fast opinions change once Gaddafi is out of the picture.

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Tuesday 27 March, 2012

The Republicans are waging a war against women, the New York Magazine declares. Perhaps it's because women are so unabashed about reading porn in public - that's according to publisher Beatriz de Moura in El Pais Semanal, at least. Polityka remembers Operation Reinhard. Tensions are growing between Poland and Hungary as Victor Orban spreads his influence, prompting ruminations on East European absurdity from both Elet es Irodalom and salon.eu.sk. Wired is keeping its eyes peeled on the only unassuming sounding Utah Data Center.
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Tuesday 20 March, 2012

In Telerama, Benjamin Stora grabs hold of the Algerian boomerang. In Eurozine, Slavenka Drakulic tells the Venetians that they should be very scared of Chinese money. Bela Tarr tells the Frankfurter Rundschau and the Berliner Zeitung that his "Turin Horse", which ends in total darkness was not intended to depress. In die Welt, historian Dan Diner cannot agree with Timothy Snyder's "Bloodlands": National Socialism was not like Communism - because of Auschwitz.
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Tuesday 13 March, 2012

In Perfil author Martin Kohn explains why Argentina would be less Argentinian if it won back the Falklands. In Il sole 24 ore, Armando Massarenti describes the Italians as a pack of illiterates sitting atop a treasure trove. Polityka introduces the Polish bestseller of the season: Danuta Walesa's autobiography. L'Express looks into the state of Japanese literature one year after Fukushima.
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Tuesday 6 March, 2012

In Merkur, Stephan Wackwitz muses on poetry and absurdity in Tiflis. Outlook India happens on the 1980s Indian answer to "The Artist". Bloomberg Businessweek climbs into the cuckoo's nest with the German Samwar brothers. Salon.eu.sk learns how to line the pockets of a Slovenian politician. In the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Navid Kermani reports back impressed from the Karachi Literature Festival.
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Tuesday 28 February, 2012

In La Vie des idees, historian Anastassios Anastassiadis explains why we should go easy on Greece. Author Aleksandar Hemon describes in Guernica how ethnic identity is indoctrinated in the classroom in Bosnia and Herzogovina. In Eurozine, Klaus-Michael Bogdal examines how Europe invented the Gypsies. Elet es Irodalon praises the hygiene obsession of German journalists. And Polityka pinpoints Polish schizophrenia.

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Tuesday 21 February, 2012

The New Republic sees a war being waged in the USA against women's rights. For Rue89, people who put naked women on the front page of a newspaper should not be surprised if they go to jail. In Elet es Irodalom, historian Mirta Nunez Daaz-Balart explains why the wounds of the Franco regime never healed. In Eurozine, Stephen Holmes and Ivan Krastev see little in common between the protests in Russia and those in the Arab world.
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Tuesday 14 February, 2012

In Letras Libras Enrique Krauze and Javier Sicilia fight over anarchy levels. In Elet es Irodalom Balint Kadar wants Budapest to jump on the Berlin bandwagon. In Le Monde Imre Kertesz has given up practically all hope for a democratic Hungary. Polityka ponders poetic inspiration and Wislawa Szymborska's "I don't know". In Espressso, Umberto Eco gets eschatological.
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Tuesday 7 February, 2012

Poland's youth have taken to the streets to protest against Acta and Donald Tusk has listened, Polityka explains. Himal and the Economist report on the repression of homosexuality in the Muslim world. Outlook India doesn't understand why there will be no "Dragon Tattoo" film in India. And in Eurozine, Slavenka Drakulic looks at how close the Serbs are to eating grass.
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Tuesday 31 January, 2012

In the French Huffington Post, philosopher Catherine Clement explains why the griot Youssou N'Dour had next to no chance of becoming Senegal's president. Peter Sloterdijk (in Le Monde) and Umberto Eco (in Espresso) share their thoughts about forgetting. Al Ahram examines the post-electoral depression of Egypt's young revolutionaries. And in Eurozine, Kenan Malik defends freedom of opinion against those who want the world to go to sleep.
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Tuesday 24 January, 2012

TeaserPicIl Sole Ore weeps at the death of a laughing Vincenzo Consolo. In Babelia, Javier Goma Lanzon cries: Praise me, please! Osteuropa asks: Hungaria, quo vadis? The newborn French Huffington Post heralds the birth of the individual in the wake of the Arab Spring. Outlook India is infuriated by the cowardliness of Indian politicians in the face of religious fanatics.
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Tuesday 17 January, 2012

TeaserPicIn Nepszabadsag the dramatist György Spiro recognises 19th century France in Hungary today. Peter Nadas, though, in Lettre International and salon.eu.sk, is holding out hope for his country's modernisation. In Open Democracy, Boris Akunin and Alexei Navalny wish Russia was as influential as America - or China. And in Lettras Libras, Peter Hamill compares Mexico with a mafia film by the Maquis de Sade.
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Tuesday 10 January, 2012

Are books about to become a sort of author-translator wiki, asks Il Sole 24 Ore. Rue 89 reports on the "Tango Wars" in downtown Buenos Aires. Elet es Irodalom posits a future for political poetry. In Merkur, Mikhail Shishkin encounters Russian pain in Switzerland. Die Welt discovers the terror of the new inside the collapse of the old in Andrea Breth's staging of Isaak Babel's "Maria". And Poetry Foundation waits for refugees in Lampedusa.
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Wednesday 4 January, 2012

TeaserPicTechnology Review sees Apple as the next Big Brother. In Eurozine, Per Wirten still fears the demons of the European project. Al Ahram Weekly features Youssef Rakha's sarcastic "The honourable citizen manifesto". Revista Piaui profiles Iraqi-Norwegian geologist Farouk Al-Kasim. Slate.fr comments on the free e-book versions of Celine's work. And Die Welt celebrates the return of Palais Schaumburg.
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Tuesday 13 December, 2011

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Tuesday 6 December, 2011

TeaserPicMicroMega cheers recent landmark Mafia convictions in Milan. Volltext champions Hermann Broch. Elet es Irodalom calls the Orban government’s attack on cultural heritage "Talibanisation". Magyar Narancs is ambiguous about new negotiations with the IMF. Telerama recommends the icon of anti-colonialism Frantz Fanon. Salon.eu.sk quips about the dubious election results in Russia, and voices in the German press mark the passing of Christa Wolf. And in the Anglophone press Wired profiles Jeff Bezos, while the Columbia Journalism Review polemicises the future of internet journalism.
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