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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29/11/2011

Magazine Roundup

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

Le Monde 25.11.2011 (France)

The Arab World needs a second go at it, writes journalist, author and dramaturge Driss Ksikes, now editor-in-chief of the Moroccan edition of Tel quel. Tocqueville taught us that even a successful revolution is no guarantee for a clear break with the old autocratic order. If the economic and intellectual elites actually stood for modernised politics, now would be the time to fight for their ideas, and they would have to start a second, slower and more patient round of revolt in order to defend against the cultural and religious autocracies. "Will they summon the courage or the will to do so? I strongly doubt it. And I fear, in view of the prevailing cowardice, that the democracy which our country has been promised will become a mere marketing slogan - if it isn't already - with no cultural anchorage, brandished only for each new election. The mountain of 'the indignant' will have given birth to a mouse. Nothing more!"


Die Welt 24.11.2011 (Germany)

Cosima Lutz watched Lech Majewksi's film "The Mill and the Cross", a filmic reflection on Breugel's "Christ Carrying the Cross", in which Breugel is played by Rutger Hauer! "Breugel is asked why he wanted to hide Jesus in his painting. Because he's 'the most important part' the painter replied. The things that really change the world and survive, he continues, mostly go unnoticed by the people around them."


Elet es Irodalom
25.11.2011 (Hungary)

Political conditions are only partly to blame for the appointment of self-professed right-wing radicals György Dörner and Istvan Csurka to the top positions at the Budapest Uj Szinhaz (New Theatre), writes theatre critic Tamas Koltai. The other reasons are the antiquated attitude of the Hungarian theatre scene in general (independents excluded) towards "public theatre", as well as the opportunism with which, over the past two decades - obviously out of fear of losing its role as a moral compass on the free market - it has let itself be overly influenced by politics (a similar opinion was expressed recently by Arpad Schilling, founder of the independent Kretakör Theatre). Dörner and Csurka's future "Hinterland Theatre" is the first fruit of this opportunism", writes Koltai. "You could say we deserve it [losing a theatre to the far right]. We certainly share the blame that it has come to this. Perhaps this disgrace was necessary to allow us to see the light."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 26.11.2011

Gustav Seibt pours scorn on Jürgen Habermas' new essay "On Europe's Constitution" which pins its hopes on state institutions and the European citizen: "You find yourself asking which parts of Europe Habermas actually knows first hand, as in how life is lived there on daily basis. It can't be Italy or Greece. There the state is seen by large swathes of the population as enemy and prey, and certainly not as guarantor of freedom and justice." Read more about Habermas' essay in a two-part profile at der Spiegel's English site.


El Pais Semanal 28.11.2011 (Spain)

Juan Diego Quesada talks to Candido Lopez, the son of Spain's last executioner, Antonio Lopez Sierra. Candido himself is currently homeless and living on the streets of Madrid. One of the most tragic executions his father performed was of anarchist Salvador Puig Antich on 2 March 1974 . "My father was a tough old dog, but every time he had to execute someone he would get drunk first, believe me." His father - who actually volunteered to join the Blue Division - also worked as a street sweeper in Germany earlier in life, feigning syphilis to avoid having to pay his own way back to Spain, his son recalls. Since there was no such thing as an "apprenticeship" to become an executioner, Candido's father was taught the secrets of the trade by an Andalusian executioner who wrote poetry, attended mass daily and envied his victims for their passing into eternity. "Would you have taken over your father's job?  - Yes, and my hands would not have trembled. I prepared for it from a young age."


Merkur 01.12.2011 (Germany)

Merkur's publishers and editors Karl Heinz Bohrer (79) and Kurt Scheel (63) are bidding farewell to the magazine. In their last joint issue they look back over almost three decades in which they taught aesthetics and politics to the nation.
Bohrer, for example, on his first progammatic essay on "The Aesthetic of the State": "The motto of this essay was a quote from Albert Camus who said: 'No nation can live outside beauty.' It was certainly intended as a polemic because it seemed to be that this Federal Republican society and above all its intelligence was indeed living outside Camus' principle. And so my essay was also an ironic-utopian parable about the 'opulence, provincialism and conformism' of the old Federal Republic."

Scheel for his part writes about authors and their work: "I wanted to belong to this circle of noble people, that was my 'Society of the Tower' [a group of enlightened individuals referred to in Goethe's 'Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship'] - and I had to make the painful experience that the more you admire an author, the more frustrating it is to get close to them. There are exceptions, and the best one in my Merkur life was Robert Gernhardt... Remember this: you should read the authors you love, but don't touch them."


Rue89 27.11.2011 (France)

He would be quite happy if his books could be illegally downloaded online and read all over the world, Umberto Eco explains in an interview. "No new technology has entirely wiped out its predecessor: photography did not replace painting, aeroplanes did not wipe out trains. Which is why I have no trouble imagining a future in which people read from their iPads. The survival of the book will be linked to its physicality. When you find your childhood books in the cellar, they are still full of all your fingerprints and scribbles. The book is an object which reminds you of your childhood! The book on a USB stick that you find in the cellar will never have this degree of meaning."


L'Espresso 28.11.2011 (Italy)

"Paolo Lopriore, who was recently awarded the Premio Internacional Lo Mejor de la Gastronomia in Alicante, won the jury over with a recipe closely reminiscent of an Italian classic: spaghetti pomodoro e basilico", reports L'Espresso. But his preparation of it has to be seen to be believed - watch the video here on his the Espresso website.


Magyar Narancs 17.11.2011 (Hungary)

Israeli writer Etgar Keret was one of the principle coordinators of the mass demonstrations in Israel this summer. The demonstrations, he says in an interview, will not have immediate effect on politics but they have already changed the social fabric: "The politicians exploit our fear of survival to justify every form of injustice. The greatest success to come from the wave of protests has nothing to do with achieving concrete objectives, it is about changing the discourse. It was fantastic to see university professors out demonstrating with their students, and that homeless people were also among their ranks. Many people in Israel belong to strong communities, but the so-called majority, the secularists, do not share this sense of community. Now they have turned to face one another and have started talking. This will also force through change in party politics, because it will no longer be possible to win an election simply by using scare tactics about Iran."


Highlights from the Anglophone press

Moroccans are no less hungry for freedom than Tunisians, activist Hisham Almiraat explains in openDemocracy. In the New Statesman, Fawaz A. Gerges asks whether the Muslim Brotherhood slogan "Islam is the solution" also applies to the unemployment problem. The LRB travels to Greece. The New Yorker examines fantasy literature's sense of loss.

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Magazine Roundup

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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Magazine Roundup

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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Magazine Roundup

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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Magazine Roundup

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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Magazine Roundup

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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Magazine Roundup

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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Magazine Roundup

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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Magazine Roundup

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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Magazine Roundup

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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Magazine Roundup

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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Magazine Roundup

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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Magazine Roundup

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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Magazine Roundup

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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Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 13 December, 2011

TeaserPicAndre Glucksman in Tagesspiegel looks at the impact of the Putinist plague on Russia and Europe. In Letras Libras Martin Caparros celebrates the Kindle as book. György Dalos has little hope that Hungary's intellectuals can help get their country out of the doldrums. Le Monde finds Cioran with his head up the skirt of a young German woman. The NYT celebrates the spread of N'Ko, the West African text messaging alphabet.
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Magazine Roundup

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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