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

GoetheInstitute

21/03/2007

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.

Frankfurter Rundschau 21.03.2007

Author Ingo Schulze speaks in an interview about his most recent book "Handy" (mobile phone - more here), which has been nominated for the Leipzig Book Fair Prize, and the East-German perspective in his work: "The East-German perspective is that of the newcomer, the new arrival, who can never really have the same feel for things as someone who's been there all along. I mean we had completely different experiences in East Germany, and now we wonder at things that someone who grew up in the West sees as completely normal, maybe even basic. And doesn't only apply to Germany. When you read Orhan Pamuk or Arab authors, the West is a point of reference, but from outside. Most people in the world are 'outsides' or 'newcomers'."

Ina Hartwig introduces a magazine brought out by the Neue Rundschau on "Historical Material" in which writer Antje Ravic Strubel describes her GDR past. "In general I think writers waste a lot of time worrying about their past; so much of life is invented anyway. Every memory consists of perhaps five percent fact, the rest is alcohol. One's own past is at best material that doesn't need researching."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 21.03.2007

"A Roman lightning bolt" has hit the 68-year-old El Salvador-based Jesuit Jon Sobrino, as Andreas Batlogg and Michael Sievernich - both Jesuits - report. "A 'Notificatio' or 'explanatory notification' published on March 14 warns against several ideas of the prominent liberation theologian, classifying them as 'either misleading or dangerous.' At the same time, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi (also a Jesuit) stressed that this is by no means an official judgement." The authors remind readers that the Pope was never a friend of liberation theology. "In May, Pope Benedict XVI will inaugurate the fifth plenary session of the Latin American Bishops' Council, which had already spoken out for a 'preferential option for the poor' in Medellin (1968) and Puebla (1979). Will the Pope make a clean sweep of things in the run-up to this meeting? The 'option for the poor' is expressly mentioned at the start of the notification as an essential mission of the Church. What signal is the Pope giving by having the notification - which he approved on October 13, 2006 - published now? Is it a reaction to inside manoeuvring among Bishops and Cardinals in Latin America and the Vatican who favour entirely different options? Are old scores being settled here?"


Die Welt 21.03.2007

The Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding, given out each year at the Leipzig Book Fair, has been awarded jointly this year to German historian Gerd Koenen (see our articles by Koenen here) and Russian philosopher Michail Ryklin. Eckhard Fuhr writes short profiles of the two, saying of Ryklin: "He translated Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno into Russian, but above all French (post) structuralists like Barthes, Foucault, Deleuze and Derrida. His most recent book reflects an alarming political experience he and his wife Anna Altschuk had in Putin's Russia: the trial over the exhibition 'Caution, Religion!' in Moscow, which Ryklin sees as the first ideological trial of the post-communist era, one that exemplifies the growing rift between Russian and the West." See our feature "Nobody is safe anymore" by Ryklin here.


Die Tageszeitung 21.03.2007

In a seasonal and observant essay, Cord Riechelmann describes the song of urban starlings. "They are highly receptive to the song of other birds such as sparrows, blackbirds or crows and they weave the sounds of dogs barking, cats purring or frogs croaking into their recitations. In the city they will play back the sound of the traffic, imitating cars starting up or braking, police sirens and construction site noise. To human ears, their songs are like subtle recordings of their surroundings and their various sound patterns. The songs become a sort of biography of the singer and its sociological ontology."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 21.03.2007

A number of CDU politicians have suggested introducing consumer protection measures for the German language and putting a stop to English-creep, much to the amusement of Jens Bisky. "As part of the campaign for 'Lively German', 'The Society for the German Language' is searching for a German equivalent for 'spam'. Of the 298 suggestions for 'slogan', they finally settled on 'Spruch' although 'Knacksatz' and 'Kaufkitzel' also made it into the final round. (...) Parliament resolutions, competitions and prizes are not going to solve the problem. Anyone who treasures the wealth and beauty of the language should ensure that people read classical German literature from Lessing to Brinkman, and that children learn to recite poetry. It's not the daft 'service point' that is so scandalous, but the fact that children go to school for years on end in Germany without learning the language. The fight against Anglicisms will go down in history as another ineffectual attempt by a terrified bourgeoisie to delay its world's demise."

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