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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13/02/2012

Magazine Roundup

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

Letras Libres  12.02.2012 (Spain/Mexico)

The writer Javier Sicilia, who has been standing up to the Mexican drug mafia with incredible bravery for some time (more here) engages in an enthralling argument with the journalist and Letras Libras publisher Enrique Krause about Krauze's new book "Redeemers" and the meaning of new libertarian movements such as Indignados or Occupy: "I see their message as anarchic-utopian", Krauze says."And that's undoubtedly a very good thing. But in political life anarchy is impossible." ("We have not earned it", as Borges once said). Anarchy is about morals. I prefer a soft version of anarchy, and that is liberalism. This is an attitude primarily: the willingness to argue instead of forcing things upon others; to prove and to justify instead of shouting loudest. Essentially liberalism is not the will to power, but the desire to know. It does not believe in belief, but in objective truth. Which is why the natural basis of liberalism is not love, which as Sicilia himself says, 'cannot be governed' – but tolerance, which for its part consists in radical respect for humankind, for the humanity of others and for whatever it is each person is and thinks."


Elet es Irodalom  10.02.2012 (Hungary)

Modern cities not only redesign themselves, but also their image. Budapest, unlike the other cities in the region, like Prague and Warsaw, has changed only minimally. The city has not branded itself and the government does not have the wherewithal to construct a contemporary image. The architect and urbanist Balint Kadar, sees Berlin as a good example for the future development of Budapest and remains optimistic about change, as he tells Tibor Berczes: "Berlin might be bigger than Budapest but as regards its standards and problems it has much in common with our city. Berlin is a city that is heavily in debt and which dared to take a big step and failed. Then it started taking smaller steps instead, which was the right decision. Since Berlin has had a limited budget it has become so much more innovative and people-friendly. Anyone who wants low prices and creative surroundings is moving to Berlin these days. In my opinion Budapest should consciously adopt this strategy and then when Berlin gets too expensive, people will automatically start moving to Budapest. Berlin might be more open to foreigners now but this tradition also existed in Budapest once upon a time and it can be revived."


Le Monde  09.02.2012 (France)

The only way to really understand Hungary, literary Nobel laureate Imre Kertesz says in an interview about the political situation in his country, is summed up in a quip by Marcel Duchamp: "There is no solution because there is no problem". Viktor Orban has bewitched the people like the pied piper of Hamlyn. "What I ask myself is why has Hungary has always disappointed? When revolution was shaking the rest of Europe, it supported Maria-Theresia! Since the 16th century the country belonged first to the Ottoman, then the Habsburg and finally the Soviet bloc. Each time it tried to play its own game within the bloc which had absorbed it. The strategy seemingly served us well. But only seemingly." Kertesz ends on a scathing note: "I am no historian, but Hungary has never had democracy - not in the sense of a political system but as an organic process that mobilises society as a whole. In Hungary's case this development was impeded by the rise of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. And we have never caught up. From a historical perspective it makes practically no sense to expect democracy in this country."


L'Espresso  06.02.2012 (Italy)

No matter what you think about Mayan prophecy, the world is constantly coming to an end, writes Umberto Eco. In Italy at least, where everything is being constantly upended, and has been for thousands of years. "The fact that things are already so topsy-turvy certainly speaks for the end of the world. Just think that the rich once lived in the luxury palaces in the centre of Rome and the poor on the barren outskirts; today the houses near the Colosseum are falling to bits, with hanging toilets on their outer walls, and they are given away for next to nothing to people who don't care about them. The corrupt politicians on the other hand are moving into the [former immigrant quarter] Quarticciolo, just imagine! Back in the day the poor travelled with the train and only the rich could afford to fly. Now flights no longer cost anything and trains are getting more luxurious all the time, with bars that are only accessible to first class travellers. Once upon a time the rich went to Riccione or in the worst case Rimini to soak their bones in the Mediterranean. Now the top politicians all go to the Maldives and Rimini is full of Russian upstarts who have only just escaped oppression themselves. Where will it all end?"


Magyar Narancs  07.02.2012 (Hungary)

The former dramatist and avowed anti-Semite Istvan Csurka who rose to fame after the fall of communism as a far-right politician, and was recently made director of the new Nationalist Uj Szinhaz theatre in Budapest, died at the beginning of February. The liberal weekly Magyar Narancs remembers a writer who helped to firmly establish racism in Hungary's political landscape. "It is Istvan Csurka's fault that Nazism was reintroduced and gained official status again. Thanks to him Nazism was publicly reinstalled, thanks to him it could mobilise the masses, thanks to him it became electable again. It is because of Csurka that in the 21st century the far-right Jobbik party is a solid, medium-sized power in the Hungarian parliament. The party itself has at most taken care of its Facebook page. And this legitimate anti-Semitism or Nazism has poisoned and divided the country – possibly for ever."


Polityka  10.02.2012 (Poland)

A key to Wislawa Szymborska's poetry and philosophy can be found in her 1996 Nobel prize speech, even if she only referred indirectly to herself, according to Justyna Sobolewska (here in German) in her obituary of the Polish poet: "Like when she observes that 'poets today are mostly skeptical or distrustful even – and perhaps primarily – when it comes to themselves. They admit only reluctantly to being poets in public – as if they were somehow embarrassed about it.' And she stresses that 'inspiration' is not only the province of poets and artists but of people who set out to constantly question things and feed their brains with new challenges. People, in other words, whose curiosity never cools. Scarcely is one job over than 'a swarm of new questions forms. Inspiration, whatever that might be, stems from a constant I don't know'."


Stories from the Anglophone press:

In Vanity Fair S.L.Price explains why Barry Levinson's 1982 film "Diner" was more influential than "Bladerunner", "Sex, Lies and Video Tapes", "Raging Bull" and "Blue Velvet". In the Guardian, sociologist Richard Sennett evokes Montaigne to talk about new forms of co-operation. The TLS is completely absorbed by Wes Williams' book on the meaning of monsters. Commentary remembers Christopher Hitchens as Richard Drefuss' Justin Bieber.

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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 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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