Writing against disappearance ? Sa?a Stani?i?

Sa?a Stani?i?, who grew up in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Germany, writes regional novels of an unusual kind. His novel ?Vor dem Fest? was awarded the Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair. ... more more

GoetheInstitute

09/11/2007

From the Feuilletons

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 09.11.2007

Polish author Wojciech Kuczok is relieved that the PiS is stepping down but remains anxious about his country. "If two years of a compromising regime of resentment, xenophobia and nationalist Catholic gossip, baiting, spying, and scandals is not enough to exhaust PiS voters, indeed has significantly strengthened them, then it means Poland is breaking in two. An entire army of failed, frustrated and helpless citizens voted for resignation instead of mobilisation, for scrutinizing others instead of taking fate into one's own hands, for looking backwards linstead of bravely striding forward, and for despising the thought of oneself as an individual and constantly looking for ways to justify national pride."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 09.11.2007

On November 9th, poet Durs Grünbein looks back in an interview with Carsten Hueck at the fall of the Wall – and at 1980, the year of change. "It was the year of strikes in Poland. This for me was the decisive twist out of the ice age. The beginnings of movement, as I only realised only years later. The Solidarnosc period was followed a year later by martial law in Poland and the borders were sealed... The political climate was getting more extreme. We knew suddenly that the front ran inside the East and not, as was always said, that the final battle would take place on the Western borders. It was extremely oppressive because a geographical confusion set in. You noticed that the really strong, tangible emancipation movement was now coming from the East. A year later however it was suppressed again with the imposition of martial law. It became real with the uprising of the dock workers, with Walesa and so on. Which is why I have the greatest respect for the Poles. I am eternally grateful for this great uprising."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 08.11.07

Jordan Mejas sees a disconcerting belligerence combined with a now habitual reality-disconnect among America's Neocons. "The darker it looks for Republicans in America, the more dangerous it becomes for the world. And the longer the drums are being beaten, the easier it becomes for the Americans to get used to the idea of the next war. Fox commentator Charles Krauthammer looks serenely into the cameras and announces that he is not expecting this government to leave without first extinguishing the Iranian enemy. The section of the population which does not identify with the 52 percent of war supporters is already accepting such predictions with strange equanimity. He has resigned. Protest brings nothing, the president does what destiny throws at him."


Die Welt 08.11.07

The three social sciences institutes in Paris are to leave the Latin Quarter and move out to Aubervilliers in the suburbs, but Wolf Lepenies is not weeping: "Weren't these establishments long alienated from social reality in the chic milieu of the 6th and 7th arrondissements? Wouldn't it do the sociologists and psychologists, anthropologists and historians a world of good to go to work in the problem neighbourhoods of the Parisian suburbs, where flames from burning cars still light up the night? More than a dozen professors protested against the forced move to Aubervilliers in an open letter in Le Monde newspaper. The deputy mayors of Aubervilliers countered with a letter welcoming the 'citizen researchers' to their town, in which they adeptly appealed to the researchers' social conscience: in Aubervilliers the human and social sciences will be united not in the boutiques and cafes, but right next to the 'Place du Front Populaire'."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 07.11.07

Thomas Urban describes how writer Andrzej Stasiuk presents Germany to Poles in his book "Dojczland", and how his "self-ironic" and "provocative" approach is once more dividing Polish critics. "Some reviewers reproach Stasiuk for continually referring to his own alcohol consumption, which they say is a recurring theme in the book. His repeated references to a particular American bourbon and his alleged states of intoxication with their ensuing hangovers harm Poland's reputation abroad, critics say, and only serve as an intellectual ingratiation to the arrogant Germans."


Die Tageszeitung 07.11.07

The newspaper dedicates this edition to the 90th anniversary of the October Revolution. Klaus-Helge Donath describes how Putinism follows in the footsteps of Communism, while doing away with anti-capitalist ideology. "The first element in this continuity is Soviet patriotism. It was born in the trenches of the Great Patriotic War and the struggle against Nazism, and heralded the true birth of the USSR. Generalissimo Stalin's victory over Hitler allowed the trauma of the Great Terror in the 1930s to be whitewashed. It is no coincidence that May 9, the day of victory, is now considered the country's most important holiday. The USSR emerged from World War II as the second superpower. To thank for this was Josef Stalin, who is now once more being portrayed in schoolbooks as the universal liberator and founder of the Russian superpower. Belief in Russia's grand, imperial mission and Russian Messianism are ideological baggage which dominate the discourse of Putinism. After a period of weakness in the 90s, so goes the Kremlin's story, a historic continuity with the past has now been established. The state is strong once more."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 06.11.07

Writer Ingo Schulze uses his acceptance speech for the Thüringer Literature Prize, sponsored by the energy company E.on, to vent his discontent with the commercialisation of cultural life. The paper prints a shortened version of his address. "What really gets on my nerves is that there is hardly an exhibition catalogue nowadays that doesn't have the logo of some company or another, and that practically every festival or guest performance starts with a list of all its sponsors. Even the reception at the German embassy in Rome on German Unification Day was kicked off with a word of thanks to a car company, whose products adorned the entrance like caryatids. And what's more, people now take this re-feudalisation for granted. If the democratic state doesn't have enough money, it must change the laws so that it can once more see to its responsibilities. Failing that, it puts its own existence into question."


Berliner Zeitung 06.11.07

Take That are back - minus crisis-ridden Robbie Williams, and riding a wave of success. Jens Balzer went to the concert in Berlin which was obviously big, very big. "Voodoo madness, charming Nazis, burning skulls and acrobats in shiny mauve leather. On Sunday, the extreme dance and pop music group Take That, now four-fifths complete, gave their first Berlin concert in 12 years in the Velodrom. I'm not exaggerating when I say it was an unworldly triumph, a gesamtkunstwerk of pop-historical dimensions, a firework display of immortal songs and fascinatingly meaningless stage ideas, proffered by a professional team suffering from gross existential confusion." And then selflessness of their fans: "In front of me sits a heterosexual couple, early thirties perhaps. She calls out relentlessly, "Gary I want your babies', 'Gary give me your babies, now.' And each time he follows this with a 'Yeah' – so selfless and tolerant are the people that go to Take That concerts, the world would be a better place if everyone was like this."


Die Welt
05.11.07

Peter Zander talks to the actress Maria Shrader, whose directorial debut, the film of Zeruya Shalev's book "Love Life" is opening in cinemas soon. When asked why she no longer appears on the screen herself, she replies with disarming candour: "It's not as if I've been overwhelmed with offers and thrown them scornfully to the wind (laughs). This, I'm afraid, I have in common with many others, Martina Gedeck and Franka Potente complain of the same thing. 'Aimee & Jaguar' – for almost three years nothing else came out of this country. It was as if people had seen too much of me. The idea of creating projects for specific actors almost never happens here."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 03.11.07

The paper prints an interview originally published in El Pais with Jonathan Littell, author of the scandal-provoking novel "Les bienveillantes" (see our feature "The banalisation of evil"). The novel is told from the point of view of an SS murderer, and sparked a heated debate when it came out in France last year. In the interview, Littell expresses a singularly dim view of the world: "When God disappears, we're confronted with a dilemma. Values have to relate to something, they have to come from somewhere. In a world without God, it's difficult to establish an ethical or moral system. The ideologists have attempted to provide a replacement, but they too have failed, and now we're left with nothing at all. And neither the iPod, nor commerce and advertising can create a system of values in its place. The values we pursue with our exaggerated consumer behaviour don't mean a thing."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung
03.11.07

Kersten Knipp takes a whirlwind tour through Budapest's cultural and intellectual milieu, and discovers a country still strongly marked by losses of the past. Yet there is hope: "Somewhere in the no man's land between the political fronts, the young cultural scene dares to take a stand. At present it has little terrain, nevertheless it serves as a persistent rallying point for all those who prefer subtlety to crude arguments, and unconstrained ways of being to the populism of politics. This small group of individuals hopes the country will one day come together, summoning the strength to leap over the ruins of the past. They hope that there, on the other side of Utopia, relationships will be not only easier, but also more reliable, more stable than those of today. In the end one cannot fail to be charmed by the tender, alluring spirit of this new cultural energy in the city."















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Saturday 11 - 17 December, 2010

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Saturday 4 - Friday 10 September, 2010

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