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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05/09/2007

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.

Der Tagesspiegel 05.09.2007

Thirty years ago today industrialist and former SS officer Hanns Martin Schleyer was kidnapped by the RAF (Rote Armee Fraktion). It was the height of RAF violence at a period that came to be known as the Deutsche Herbst or German Autumn. Documentary film maker Andres Veiel remembers this as a time when he stopped being an onlooker and became a "historical subject". "For us, Baader, Ensslin und Meinhof were not so much the 'new people' of a revolutionary epoch, as individuals who sacrificed their lives. And this myth of martyrdom had my generation on a fishing hook. We were only alibi rebels and going underground was out of the question. The contradictions of the RAF, the cynicism, the hubris involved in selecting names for the death list – all these doubts soon surfaced in me, but I couldn't discuss them with anyone. Because once again, I didn't want to be not part of it again."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung
05.09.2007

Thirty years after the German Autumn, Joachim Güntner comments that there are no longer any RAF sympathisers in Germany, which he sees as the sign of a basic change in political mood: "The contexts of those days have lost their relevance. No one goes around preaching solidarity with Third World freedom fighters any more. The revolutionary gesture has served its purpose. People no longer swear by Ernst Bloch's 'Spirit of Utopia,' and his statement that 'as a rule the soul must become culpable, to destroy the bad existing order' is no longer used to justify revolutionary violence. In fact justification itself is a thing of the past. No one's interested any more in searching for terrorists' political motives. It used to be the domain of the conservative boulevard press to consistently portray the RAF as a band of murderers on an ego trip. Today even left-liberals cultivate this image.


Frankfurter Rundschau 05.09.2007

In an essay entitled "Being high, being free, terrorism's gotta be," Arno Widmann examines the inexorable international spread of the cult of violence in the 1970s. "Saying that art only reflected real terror gets things back to front. The furore of destruction in Western art after 1945, not only as a major topic, but as an essential stimulus, played an important role in the development of both the ideology and the praxis of terrorism in certain countries - among them the Federal Republic of Germany."


Die Welt
05.09.2007

"A good book makes the reader unique", Israeli author David Grossman said in his inaugural speech yesterday at the International Literature Festival in Berlin, which the paper reprints. "Ideally literature is merciful on us and helps us a little to withstand the insult of dehumanisation that life in the big, anonymous, globalised world inflicts upon us: the insult of being described in 'coarse' language, in cliches, generalisations and in stereotypes; the insult of being transformed into what Herbert Marcuse called a one dimensional man."


Die Tageszeitung 05.09.2007

Jörg Magenau looks at how German authors like Dirk von Petersdorff, Burkhard Spinnen and John von Düffel are suddenly discovering the pleasures of fatherhood and the battle of the nappies. "The way German authors are revelling in fatherhood you'd think they'd been put on the payroll of ministry for families or had pinned their hopes on getting the Father's Cross for service to the family. And this has spawned a men's literature which harks back to the 1950s in its enthusiasm for reproduction and the blessings of family life – even if all is not particularly rosy on the fertility front.


Süddeutsche Zeitung 05.09.2007

Paul Greengrass' "The Bourne Ultimatum" hits the screens in Germany tomorrow. Anke Sterneborg talks with lead actor Matt Damon about what he's learned about being a good film director. "What all really great filmmakers have in common is seeing directing as teamwork. They listen very closely, even when a technician makes a suggestion. Their job is to filter the one good suggestion out of 500 they receive. And they don't see in the other 499 as a threat to their authority. I'd always had this picture in my head of a director sitting in his chair with a huge megaphone, shouting orders and not listening to anyone else. But this image you get from old films is the exact opposite of what I've experienced. Good directors are the attorneys of all the ideas on a set."

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