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GoetheInstitute

08/06/2007

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.

Die Welt 08.06.2007

Uwe Wittstock is delighted that the writer Martin Mosebach has been given this year's Georg Büchner Prize, Germany's most prestigious literary award. "Since writing his debut novel 'Das Bett' (the bed, 1983), Mosebach has been developing the social novel like no other contemporary German writer. Right up to and including his most recent novel 'Der Mond und das Mädchen,' (the moon and the maiden) which will appear in the next couple of weeks, Mosebach has fashioned a highly sophisticated, vivid and at the same time entertaining panorama of contemporary German society. And his home town of Frankfurt, which since the war has had no more loving portraitist, has always been the focus." Tilman Krause agrees: "In today's world where taste and education have everywhere sunk to abysmal depths, what we need is this sort of intelligent, urban, reader-friendly, you might even say bourgeois literature."

Mariam Lau writes about the dispute over the mosque in Cologne (more here and here). Addressing among others the writer Ralph Giordano, who recently argued that the mosque was a sign of failed integration, Lau says that religious freedom can neither be tied to concessions nor to moods or aesthetic sensibilities: "The broad attack against Islam has a built-in contradiction: On one hand, Muslims are told that if they hadn't internalized the separation of state and religion, Islam could not have become a religion compatible with democracy – which is true. On the other hand, Islam is supposed to be responsible for everything: bad school grades, 'honour killings' and violence against women, jobless youth. Mosques are supposed to prove their usefulness in these areas before they may be built."


Frankfurter Rundschau 08.06.2007

On the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War, Marie-Luise Knott enumerates problems with the concept of Israel's "right to exist": "While the concept of the 'right to exist' falls back on the logic of mutually opposed parallel worlds, in fact there must be a grappling with mutual recognition (as well as recognition of borders) via political negotiations. But at the end of negotiations, both parties must recognise each other. Borders would have to be determined, rights for Jews and non-Jews defined, and political conditions for the region included – in this way, perhaps, Israel's existence within clear borders could be guaranteed for the long term."


Die Tageszeitung 08.06.2007

In a letter from New York, Marcia Pally explains why Muslims are so well-integrated in the USA: "We’ve had so many religious groups participating in the socio-economic, educational and political life that one more is just that, one more. No big deal. America has not been pluralistic out of virtue but of necessity: we needed to attract as many immigrants as were willing to endure the hardships of the frontier and later industrialisation. But the benefit of this accidental generosity was a pluralistic deal: immigrants had to contribute to the economic and political fracas of the nation but they could keep not only their private faith but their community practice. There has of course been prejudice, but this tends to fall in importance as participation increases."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 08.06.2007

On the media page, Karl Lüönd presents Peter Knechtli, founder of the Swiss Internet newspaper Onlinereports.ch. "Right from the start, Onlinereports was journalistically motivated, and profited from its unique position, as media consultant Manfred Messmer underscores: 'Onlinereports is not a complement to a printed newspaper. Knechtli was the first to recognise that as an Internet journalist with relatively modest means, you can become your own publisher. And with his site he's created a concrete alternative to all the other plans - or castles in the air - for a serious competitor to the Basler Zeitung.'"


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 08.06.2007

This year's big summer of art has kicked off, and Niklas Maak reports from the first station, the Biennale in Venice. In his view, the feeling of disillusionment that has set in was inevitable after the extraordinarily high expectations. "What surfaced at the Biennale two years ago as the major problem of contemporary art has now become even more acute. It's not the old problem of too little interest, but rather too much interest. Artists and curators can no longer keep up with the demand.... At the very moment when art is turning from a hermetic practise of the initiated avant-guard into a mass sport, and when people are ready to applaud even the most obscure contribution as an 'interesting stand,' artists, curators and agents, exhausted by innumerable fairs and biennials, are feebly sinking back on their laurels and dishing up luke-warm infusions of the same old thing."

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