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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

03/09/2007

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.

Monday 3 September, 2007

Gazeta Wyborcza 03.09.2007

In an interview published in German in the Polish daily, journalist Adam Krzeminski speaks with German historian Heinrich August Winkler about the complex German-Polish relations (more here). Winkler comments: "On the Polish side, it's difficult to ignore the groups that foment anti-German sentiment. They exploit the organisations of German expellees as an element in the political equation... In my opinion, however, fears in Poland of the loss of its newly recovered sovereignty to the EU are much more important than nationalist sentiments of some Polish politicians. This supranational association of states executes its sovereignty partly collectively, and partly through supranational institutions. Similar fears also exist among other new EU member states, and older members should handle them extremely carefully. This is also why I found the the term 'European constitution' ill-considered. It was bound to provoke resistance, and not just in Poland or the UK. If you want to carry out reforms necessary for the smooth functioning of the EU, you should avoid provoking such fears."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 03.09.2007

In a sombre report from Russia, Sonja Margolina describes how the Orthodox Church sees itself as a go-between among the government and the population. "The Orthodox 'Declaration of Human Dignity and Rights,' which was passed at the world congress of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow in 2006, opposes the liberal human rights of the West with 'higher values' like belief, morality and saintliness. Individual freedom only holds in limited circumstances, which are set by the traditional morals and historical religions. Public discussion is now focussing on whether the 'Sobornost' - which has made its voice heard in the criminal proceedings against the exhibition 'Beware, Religion!' - will consolidate its power as a clerical fascism, or as a milder form of 'Orthodox capitalism.' The consequences of the latter would be an upsurge in xenophobia and the bloody ethnic conflicts in the country."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung
03.09.2007

Poet and essayist Zafer Senocak is hopeful that the election of Abdullah Gül as president will set Turkey on the road to Europe. But an open and democratic society is still a long way off, particularly in the East of the country. "Authoritarian top-down modernisation is a closed chapter. The old elite represented by the bureaucrats and military went to seed after failing to meet the challenges of the globalised world order. The Anatolians however are confident and ambitious. They are keen to improve living standards and spruce up their towns and cities. But are they also prepared to change their conservative traditions? They probably don't have a choice. But they have a long road ahead of them." Read more articles by Zafer Senocak here.


Saturday 1 September, 2007

Die Welt 01.09.2007

German philosopher Rüdiger Safranski's study on "Romantik" (Romanticism) is too German in outlook, writes Paul Michael Lützeler. "The English Romantics were - just think of Coleridge and Wordsworth - involved in the literary fight against Napoleon far earlier and more effectively than Kleist, who failed to have any of his political poems, polemics or dramas published, let alone performed. Byron was no less 'Greek' in his mindset than Hölderlin. For his part, the painter-poet William Blake also searched for a new mythology. The enthusiasm for popular songs, the discovery of the national heritage, poetic new orientations, a fondness for the mysterious and the uncanny: all of that is also present in the writings of Keats and Shelly. With her 'Frankenstein', Mary Shelly attracted far more attention to herself in Europe and in the world, than E.T.A. Hoffmann with his 'Elixiren des Teufels.' By the same token the German horror novel remained in the shadows of the English Gothic novel. Walter Scott was, as author of historical novels, far more influential internationally than Arnim, Fouque or Tieck."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
01.09.2007

The author Sibylle Lewitscharoff was bowled over by the exhibition in Berlin's German Historical Museum on Karl May (1842-1912), the best-selling wild west fantasy novelist whose books were so popularly filmed in the 1960's. "Why is there so much to be gleaned from Karl May the man? What makes this exhibition so good? Karl May was dealt a rare destiny in which the vices, desires, and lusts of an entire epoch ignited as if through a magnifying glass. A single life that speaks volumes for millions of others plagued by similar dreams, grievances, and the same way of lying to themselves. If one can get beyond his dizzying heights and enter into atmospheric layers where one can see clearly and breath calmly, and if the transition takes place without recourse to malice and know-it-all foolhardiness, then a masterpiece will emerge. As the savvy compilers of this admirable exhibition have proved."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
01.09.2007

At the Venice Film Festival, Michael Althen watched Brian de Palma's "Redacted": "Cinema's most radical answer to Abu Ghraib." "De Palma shows everyday life in this American outpost in Samara, the crippling routine, the omnipresent fear, the forced camaraderie – and the escalation of apathy in the rape of a fifteen-year-old Iraqi girl and the murder of her family. Where other war films use authenticity to grab the viewer's attention, De Palma delivers such sustained blows to one's perception that the manipulation remains tangible at all times. It is his unswerving use of realism as a means to an end that makes his film so disturbing and malevolent."

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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