09/02/2007

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 09.02.2007

The writer Georg Klein admits that he would have no objection to the Germans being "degraded to a nation of small-car drivers" by Brussels. "One of my relatives – perhaps he still doesn't know this! - was conceived on a wintry woodland track near Augsburg in a small car from the early Bundesrepublik. It was no Goggo, it was no small racy BMW Isetta, it was no robust, iron Lloyd. Alright, I'll stop waffling. It was an Italian Fiat 500. It's good to know that something like that was even possible, and still is. It encourages me, no less, to hope that we, the Germans, as the future drivers of enchanting small cars, could become more mobile, more supple, more erotic and perhaps even more fertile." Read short stories by Georg Klein here and here.

Willibald Sauerländer was suitably horrified by the exhibition of French artist Odilon Redon at the Frankfurt Schirnhalle. "Redon's unsettling pictures, his black coal drawings and lithographs reveal the second face of French modernity. The eye of the Impressionists, Redon's contemporaries, took in the light and fluid of big-city life. Redon evoked the dark and imaginary world of occult and delusion…. Beside his portrayal of Nadar's balloon hangs the terrifying drawing of a huge black spider with a simian face. Fauna had long been classified and mummified by the positivistic era. But in the nightmare of phantasmagoric art, the monstrosity and gruesomeness of wild beasts reappeared once more, evoking a shudder at the sight of all things poisonous."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung
09.02.2007

Mona Naggar reports on the International Book Fair in Cairo which is keen to establish dialogue with the West. The deputy director of the book fair Wahid Abdalmagid "cannot imagine inviting Iran or any other Islamic country as the guest country in the foreseeable future: 'There are many dark, unprocessed chapters in the relations between Arab, Turkish and Persian cultures. In relations with Western culture on the other hand, the dark chapters are well-known and have been dealt with. It is important to draw attention to the less well-known positive aspects in our relations."


Die Welt
09.02.2007

"War toys are back at last!", quips Matthias Heine at the announcement by Märklin toy company that they are to reintroduce tanks to their product line: "No doubt a good number of Playmobil figures will get crushed under their tracks, and a good number of Lego castles will be burst asunder by their cannon fire. But that doesn't mean we're in for a military dictatorship in 2050."


Berliner Zeitung 09.02.2007

Annett Heide paid a visit to Chuck Wepner, the inspiration for Rocky. "Bayonne, New Jersey, a small town at the mouth of the Hudson River. Chuck Wepner, 67 years old, 1.96 metres tall, 113 kg in weight, 127 stitches in his face, his nose has been broken 11 times, his cheek bone once, stands in the doorway of his apartment. He's wearing a white T-shirt, black trousers and glasses, his hair is thinning. He fills the doorway and smiles warmly." And what's he up to? "Wepner suddenly wipes some dust off the mirror like an obsessive cleaner and says that he's an obsessive cleaner. Then he pedantically punches a fold in the sofa cushion and says that he's unbearably pedantic. He shows me the washing-up machine, saying that he never uses it because he washes up better than it does. He's become eccentric."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
09.02.2007

Kerstin Holm watched a few of the 40 episodes of the Russian state-TV soap marathon "Stalin live". The man responsible for this "reality fairytale" is Grigori Ljubomirow whose "image spectrum not only completely omits all the unsavoury disciplinary orgies that took place outside the dictator's private residences. The director and script writer has also liberated himself from all historians' 'prejudices' about Stalin's pathological vindictiveness and persecution complex. Instead we see the lonely head of state, with his chalky make-up and dyed grey hair-sculpture in February 1953 in the quiet of his office lost in thought about the intrigues of his colleagues, his unhappy family situation and the great chess game of world politics. Ljubomirw has cooked up endless inner monologues that prove that Stalin was always one step ahead of the game."

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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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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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