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31/10/2006

In Today's Feuilletons

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.

Die Welt 31.10.2006

After meeting with Günter Grass and other colleagues, writer Burkhard Spinnen presents his concept of acceptable political literature. First of all, of course, "No more schizography!" And then, language has to be priority number one. "Literature is no place to solve the problems of foreign affairs, bur rather to test language's capacity to formulate these problems. I venture an example: As long as there is debate about the reform of the so-called health care system, nothing important can actually happen. If somewhere it is made clear (and it can only be in literature) that we actually need a new definition of death in the age of intensive medicine, there might actually be a chance to generate laws that have more effect than a provisional reconciliation between lobby groups."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 31.10.2006

From Ukraine, Gerhard Gnauck reports on attempts to work through the country's checkered history and settle on a coherent national identity. A major obstacle is the two largest parties' opposing perspectives on history, in particular that of Ukraine's role in the Second World War. This is evident in their respective honouring of what were once enemy armies. "While a massive obelisk for the soldiers of the 'Galician Division' (SS volunteers) was erected a few years ago in Lemberg in the West, a monument to the Soviet 'Knights of Duty' (made up of NKWD, KGB and SBU) went up in Donezk in the East. The only thing uniting them was the stone out of which they were chisseled: red granite."

Hubertus Adam sees in the current projects of the architects Gigon/Geyer (the Prime Tower planned in Zürich) and Herzog & de Meuron (the Bau 1 planned in Basel) a comeback of high rises in Switzerland. "The trend towards unusual forms which distinguish the top buildings from the rest of the pack (like Norman Foster's 'Gherkin' in London) has now taken off here as well: potency is no longer determined by how high but rather how emblematic a building is."


Frankfurter Rundschau 31.10.2006

Writer
Artur Becker thinks about his German-Polish identity and the relationship of both countries to one another: "Despite their glorious unification, the Germans still have not really separated from powerful Russia, especially in the psychological sense. And the Poles do not get it, that with their fear of Germany – and especially their fear of Russia – they sow and harvest only more fear. And that is exactly this fatal, artificially conceived Yalta- and Oder-Neiße syndrome of our common ancestry and birthright. And by the way: The Germans and the Poles haven't really understood one another – despite the famous bended-knee of Warsaw, despite the popularity here of Szczypiorski's writings, despite the generous assistance of West Germany during the days of the Solidarity movement."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
31.10.2006

Regina Mönch is wringing her hands over attempts in Berlin to put to a general test the "Einheitsschule" or comprehensive high school, which offers a hybrid of vocational or academic education. "All the well-known studies that demonstrate the failure of comprehensive schools" were ignored, as were experiences in Berlin with such schools going back to the 1920s. "The last time the comprehensive school idea was shelved was 1991. Within a few months, parents in East Berlin chose the three-tier system– after four decades of required comprehensive schools. They were voting with their feet against the original intentions of the then Social Democratic-Green Party city administration."

Eva-Maria Magel uses the example of two Internet sites to describe different approaches to crime in South Africa: At crimexposouthafrica.org, "starting a few months ago, any South African can post his personal encounter with evil. The selection is huge. South Africa competes with the biggest in the world, when it comes to criminality." On the other hand, the website realsouthafrica.co.za does not believe in a moral downfall of the country: "Joyful photos of the 'Rainbow nation' decorate the site; the forum praises South Africa's success, hospitality and the virtue of 'Ubuntu', solidarity."

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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 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 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

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.
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Saturday 4 - Friday 10 September, 2010

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