23/10/2006

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.

Monday 23 October, 2006

Poet Oskar Pastior postumhously awarded Georg Büchner prize for literature

This weekend poet Oskar Pastior, who died on October 4, would have received Germany's most prestigious literary award, the Georg Büchner Prize. Die Welt publishes a short interview where Pastior explains to Tanya Lieske why he became a language experimenter: "It has to do with growing up and learning to think in Transylvania, which was relatively multilingual. We thought in our mother tongue, and in the other languages as well. What do Romanians, Hungarians or Ideologians - they are a different type of people - hear when I speak? (See our feature on Pastior, "The spell of a tender eel")

On the literature page, the Süddeutsche Zeitung prints the acceptance speech that Pastior was to give at the Büchner Prize award ceremony. "Digging around in the sludge again, secreting poetry again. And then people talk about game playing. They know nothing of speech trouble, thought exasperation or even perception distress."


Die Tageszeitung 23.10.2006

Dorothea Hahn presents the 21-year-old Faiza Guene, a French writer of Algerian origin, who has been hailed the "Francoise Sagan of the banlieus": "Her first novel, 'Kiffe kiffe demain' ('Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow') sold more than 230,000 copies in France and has been translated into 20 languages. This year it is on the curriculum of French high schools. Her second novel appeared in August. 'Du reve pour les oufs' ('Dreams for the Crazy' to be published by Harcourt) is more political than her first book. But once more it revolves around a young woman in the suburbs who tells of her life in the first person: of job counsellors and temping, of her delinquent younger brother; of her father who's been disabled since falling at his construction site, and of pubescent cousins who are already planning the details of their weddings."


Saturday 21 October, 2006


The feuilletons remember the Hungarian Uprising

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 21.10.2006

The weekend Literature and Art section of the paper is dedicated to the Hungarian Uprising of October 23, 1956. At the forefront is György Konrad (more) who looks back over a full two pages. "Suddenly I found myself in the midst of the demonstration, and stepping down from the pavement I joined the protesting youth. Some of them had linked arms and were waiting on every street corner for the onslaught of the army and the marching columns that would drive them apart. Miraculous how one hour can turn a population into a people. Torpor no more, we have every right to take to the street. Strange that they are scared of us now, not the other way round. You can write what you like on a piece of paper and nail it to a tree. A rhetoric has collapsed. A riot of language, every wall of the city a newspaper. A people's festival of insubordination."


Die Welt 21.10.2006

In a highly informative article, Krisztina Koenen looks into what moved Janos Kadar, then head of the Hungarian Workers' Party, to leave his country to the mercy of the Soviet tanks. "This was not the first time that Kadar was willing to let blood flow for the Party. As minister of the interior he had prepared the show trial against Laszlo Rajk (1948-1950), always in the knowledge that he could well be the next. And he was. In 1952 he was sentenced to life imprisonment for treason and counter-revolutionary activity, before being rehabilitated and set free in 1954. But historian Tibor Huszar is sure: in November 1956 Kadar had to fear that his old sins would be held against him once more should he fail to submit to the Russian comrades. What followed is common knowledge."


Berliner Zeitung
21.10.2006

Hungarian author George Hodos looks back on 1956: "For me, the Hungarian Revolution began on October 6, 1956. That was almost exactly seven years after Laszlo Rajk, then second in command in the Party, together with three of his colleagues, among them my friend Tibor Szönyi, were executed and buried in unmarked graves. Szönyi had previously headed the Personnel Division of the Central Committee, and had been a communist since 1930. I met him in Switzerland during my period of emigration prior to 1944. The Hungarian show trial against 'Rajk and consorts' was construed out of this 'Swiss Group' including the US citizen Noel Field. It ended with five death sentences in the main trial and 40 more in related trials, to count just those hanged. We survivors undertook the reburial of the hanged, together with Rajk's widow Julia and the directors of the writer's union. The news spread around Budapest like wildfire, and 100,000 people assembled on October 6. That was the first spontaneous mass demonstration against tyranny and Stalinism since 1949."

Get the signandsight newsletter for regular updates on feature articles.
signandsight.com - let's talk european.

 
More articles

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more