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

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18/07/2007

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 18.07.2007

In an article titled "The New Self", American philosopher Jason Hill confronts multicultural identity politics with a cosmopolitical response to the Islamic threat to the West. "Cosmopolitanism was shaped and developed by the ancient stoics and cynics, who represented the idea that an individual should possess a true identity above and beyond the one with which he was born. According to this line of argument, the self is composed of a series of concentric circles, starting with the family at the innermost point and spreading outwards towards the market place, the village and the homeland, right out to the outermost – and most important circle – that of humanity itself. All people are capable of rationality and pursue a moral goal in life, which transcends cultural, regional and social differences."

Swiss composer Heinz Holliger, in an interview, speaks about the dangers of the "cultural machine": "Today youth is of the essence, and this goes for composers too. Many are virtually funded to death. They are squeezed like lemons until they are empty, dried out. This is a grave danger, because of the emphasis the machine puts on world premieres. We have to produce and produce. Not everyone can endure this. Which is why I always encourage people to resist the cultural machine."


Berliner Zeitung 18.07.2007

In an interview with Sabine Vogel, Somali writer Nuruddin Farah explains what it means to be African. "I simply feel better in Africa, the air is better, the people don't constantly ask me questions. Even if I need a visa – as soon as I'm inside the country meeting people on the street, I no longer feel like a stranger. There is this brotherliness. It's the spirit... But being African is also problematic. Many Africans feel ashamed that our societies are languishing and embroiled in endless civil wars. On the other hand, the Germans had their Thirty Years War. Why can't we have ours without everyone thinking we're stupid? Civil wars are also about identity."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
18.07.2007

Alex Rühle reports that Germany is considering whether to censor two volumes from the collected works of Rudolf Steiner for racist content. A new study by historian Helmut Zander - ("Anthroposophie in Deutschland", Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht), examines the attitudes of this founder of the Waldorf Schools, and shows how he reflected the thinking of his day. In two lecture series, one from 1908 and the other from 1990, Steiner "investigated the various human races in terms of their skin colour and their standing in the development of humankind." In short, says Zander, Steiner found "blacks to be an imperfect, earlier model, whereas whites are the fulfilment of the goal of human evolution... He formulated an ethnology in which the terms 'degenerate,' or 'backward,' or 'future' races was not accidental, but rather the result of a well planned evolution curriculum."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 18.07.2007

Matthias Daum was swept of his feet by Prince's gig at the Montreux Jazz Festival: "The performance never mutates into a funky glitz fest. At the peak, Prince puts a halt to the euphoria overkill and plays the pearly ballad 'Nothing Compares 2 U' – lapping it up as the crowds intone his own uniqueness. Then follows 'Guitar' a new Brit-Rock inspired ode to sexually abstinent object fetishism as befits a hard working Jehova's witness: 'I love you baby, but not like I love my guitar.' With a howling, droning, and scratching of the Prince guitar, the song climaxes in a stadium-rock thunderstorm of steel. But somehow I can forgive this little guy his excesses, however indicative this may be of my critical weakness."

"Can one mystify through demystification?" asks writer Georg Klein in his series, "Die Zukunft von gestern" (The Future of Yesterday), in which this time he focuses on Arno Schmidt's down-to-earth moon novel, "KAFF auch MARE CRISIUM" (1960). "With a little luck, however, a future library on Mars will contain – in addition to the unavoidable 800 Bibles – at least one copy of this great moon novel, whose themes encompass the melancholy into which all our ventures into outer space must flow, the 'word space' of narration, the starry sky of language."

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