01/12/2006

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.

Die Welt 01.12.2006

Russian author Viktor Erofeyev continues his analysis of "Russia in crisis," pinning his hopes on the country's emerging middle class. Witness to its existence is borne "by the construction boom and mass international travel. But who will ultimately take the day: the middle class, symbol of social modernisation, or the sluggish, archaic consciousness of the poorer social strata, characterised by a crippled will? Or will the true party win power – the corrupt apparatus of functionaries, civil servants and public officials? This question is crucial not just for Russia's future, but for its very existence." Click here for part one of the article.


Der Tagesspiegel 01.12.2006

Daniel Barenboim, chief conductor of the Staatskapelle Berlin, talks with Christine Lemke-Matwey about the composer Ferruccio Busoni, whose opera "Doktor Faust" premieres tomorrow at the Berlin Staatsoper, conducted by Barenboim and directed by Peter Mussbach. "Busoni always identified with the figure of Faust, and was very at home with his ambivalence and dichotomies. As a pianist he played practically everything non legato, for clarity's sake. But always with the pedal! While rehearsing I was often reminded of Hans Sachs from Wagner's 'Meistersinger'. There are many parallels... Like a lot of artists from Latin-Romanic cultural circles, ultimately Busoni was more German than the Germans: Pablo Casals, Carlo Maria Giulini, Maurizio Pollini, Claudio Arrau. For them the proverbial broad tempi are more important that any lightness or transparency. I read in Stuckenschmidt's fantastic biography that Busoni owned a 'Faust' edition with drawings by Delacroix. He was at home between these two poles. A great European."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
01.12.2006

Barbara Frey has staged Euripides' "Medea" in the Deutsches Theater Berlin, and Gerhard Stadelmaier tries to overlook the built-in kitchen on stage and focus all his attention on the new goddess Nina Hoss. "She lives through, pulses through the character. The dragon chariot and all other metaphysics have naturally been eradicated from the production. But Nina Hoss is the dragon herself: the dragon woman who with virtuosity, bristling sexuality and also acute tragic awareness, turns her emotions into a maxim for her sex: murder more beautifully, in other words more consciously; don't take any bullshit; be what you have to be. And face the consequences. Her final exit is cool, controlled, confident but also edged with pain. Jason squirms around on the floor. The woman: a statue. The man: a worm."


Frankfurter Rundschau 01.12.2006

"Rudolf Schwarzkogler is dead, Günther Brus and Valie Export have long put direct body action behind them. Of the Vienna Actionists, only Hermann Nitsch is left." Elke Buhr visits two exhibitions in Berlin dedicated to the body. Nitsch, the "tubby old man with the monk's beard" filled the Martin Gropius Bau with his work, and the younger generation are on show in the Kunst-Werke. "Today, as his Berlin retrospective shows, Hermann Nitsch with his decoratively blood-smeared virgins is really nothing more than an historical reference – and is used as such by artists like Jonathan Meese and Christoph Schlingensief... 'Into Me / Out Of Me' curated by Klaus Biesenbach, offers a fantastic overview of body art over the last decades. And it's not only Schlingensief's video of the rotting rabbit that tickles the edge of disgust."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung
01.12.2006

Ulrich M. Schmid portrays three ultra-conservative, arch-Catholic generations in the family of Poland's current Minister of Education Roman Giertych. Giertych, his father Maciej (now Member of the European Parliament for the League of Polish Families) and his grandfather Jedrzej Giertych (1903-1992), all rejected a liberalisation of the priesthood, ecumenicism, contraception, divorce and homosexuality. "And now a month ago Roman Giertych suggested removing the author Witold Gombrowicz from literary canon taught in Polish schools. It's true, Gombrowicz is diametrically opposed to the cultural ideals of the education minister: his novels 'Ferdydurke' and 'Trans-Atlantyk' take a swipe at the Polish national pathos and contain homophile scenes. Instead of Gombrowicz's aesthetically demanding works which have long been modern classics, the Education Ministry is now recommending the nationalist historical novels of Henryk Sienkiewicz."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
01.12.2006

Museums have long surrendered their cultural hegemony to millionaire collectors, who are happy to capitalise on the kudos of the wounded institutions to boost their property value, Holger Liebs reports. One such collector is David Geffen, "The former media Czar, who made his fortune through Hollywood and Broadway, and since October has sold 420 million dollars worth of art – making him greatest living beneficiary of the art market boom. Geffen's next step is to buy the L.A. Times for two billion dollars – at least so the L.A. Times claims."

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