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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25/10/2006

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.

Süddeutsche Zeitung 25.10.2006

The literature section prints part of Peter Nadas' unsettling memories of the Hungarian Uprising from his novel "Parallel Stories," which will be published in German in 2008 (more here). "There was no more milk to be had in the city. It happened in broad daylight, sallow sunshine filtered through the autumn haze. The woman ran toward us from the other direction. Some of us were waiting for a moment when we could run too. When her bucket was hit she stopped in amazement, as if she couldn't believe it. The milk gushed out of the bucket in two streams. But that let us know there was still milk somewhere, that milk was still being dispensed somewhere. The milk streaming out of her bucket seemed to be the most important thing of all. The woman didn't even duck, she just fell to her knees and smashed the bucket angrily against the ground. Three times, four times, without letting go of the handle. The others screamed, several people all at once, but their screams came too late."

Annette Lettau reviews the return of the coloured museum wall. At the forefront of the movement is Munich's Lenbachhaus, where four rooms of paintings have been re-designed by contemporary artists. In an interview, director Helmut Friedel defends Thomas Demand's controversial ivy wallpaper. "He has consciously concentrated his black and white ivy pattern on August Macke's prismatic forms. After all ivy is also a black crepe, which reflects Macke's premature and tragic death. But the critics will no doubt have plenty to say about Katharina Grosse's grafitti which starts at a Jawlensky painting and gushes across the wall to the floor."


Die Welt
25.10.2006

The writer Zsuzsa Bank, whose parents managed to flee to Germany after the Revolution in Hungary, describes what 1956 means to her: "At the very latest I discovered that the entire world was looking toward Hungary and its Uprising when I left our kitchen table and entered my classroom. I was bemused to hear that my parents were already a part of the history that I was supposed to discuss, that they were now between book covers. They sang slogans, carried banners, demanded freedom, tore down red Soviet stars, climbed up on top of tanks, and then, on a cold November day, they jumped onto a train without suitcases or bags and fled across the border. I could have said something like, this is about us, that's us. But one unanswerable question hammered and gnawed at me: why didn't anyone listen to the cry for help sent out by the Hungarian radio to the United Nations and the entire world?"


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 25.10.2006

Forty years ago saw the start of the Cultural Revolution in China, Mark Siemons remembers, and it has never been so taboo. "The media were already instructed back in the spring not to breathe a word about the anniversary year. No events are permitted." To explain this silence, Siemons quotes the intellectual historian Wang Hui of Beijing's Tsinghua University. "Any criticism of the present can be denounced as a backslide to the Cultural Revolution and therefore as completely irrational, writes Wang in his book 'China's New Order'. In particular the despotic control mechanisms and the antisocial excrescences of the market use these methods as validation." (Here an exerpt from Wang Hui's book)


Die Tageszeitung 25.10.2006

At a Rebecca Horn retrospective in Berlin's Martin Gropius Bau, Katrin Bettina-Müller walked through four decades of the Berlin artist's career, and watched as "poetics and mechanics increasingly dried up into esoterica, bombast and pathos". "The waning enthusiasm for Rebecca Horn's work can most certainly be explained by the fact that later artists have now gone further along similar paths. Sculpture and film are for example similarly linked in Matthew Barney's work. Both artists work with objects which have a double life as props in films and as autonomous sculptures outside, that allow themselves to be clamped into narrative and mythological connections only to free themselves again. In both, the idea of restraint hampers art in its becoming. And in both the urge to complicate the creation of art turns into an independent story.... This all means that the impatience one feels at the repetitions in Rebecca Horn's work feels a bit like matricide."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 25.10.2006

Swiss author Michel Mettler describes how people react when they find out he lives in the Canton of Aargau outside Zurich. "'In Aargau?' His face is full of pity, the question rhetorical. He heard me fine, he's just trying to buy time. He casts about for an answer that wouldn't inflict unnecessary pain on my vulnerable suburban soul. Because perhaps, he thinks, for all his rational appearance, this person has actually chosen to live there, in self-determined isolation among test reactors and petrol station shops. Maybe he's an asphalt hermit, a humble agglomeration dervish, who's gone in search of the Tao of the arterial roads and the anti-charm of the DIY centres. Not very likely, but it can't be ruled out altogether. But really, I read in the incredulous, smiling face, there's only one legitimate reason for living in Aargau, and that's because you still haven't found an affordable place in Zurich."

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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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Saturday 30 October - Friday 5 November, 2010

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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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Saturday 16 - Friday 22 October, 2010

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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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Saturday 2 - Friday 8 October, 2010

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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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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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Saturday 10 - Friday 17 September, 2010

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