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

10/10/2008

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 04.10.2008

Elke Buhr visited the huge Joseph Beuys retrospective in the Hamburger Bahnhof which is one of the ten shows dedicated to the "Cult of the Artist" due to swamp Berlin this autumn. But for all veneration of the great man, she couldn't help pouring a little water in the wine. "In the art magazine Monopol, art historian Beat Wyss recently tried to scratch away at the Beuys myth and described the artist as an "eternal Hitler youth" with his anthropologically-fired social fantasies which combined Volkish ideas of the thirties with the revolutionary rhetoric of the 68ers. This would imply that Beuys the shaman never managed to shake himself free of the very things he seemed bent on exorcising. And even if the Berlin exhibition does everything to dip Beuys in the gold and honey of unquestionable humanism and utopianism, it cannot conceal bits evidence that endorse Wyss's theory: No one who wants to do away with the principle of political representation can be a good democrat in the conventional sense."


Die Welt 06.10.2008

An anonymous banker tells the paper that one reason for the credit crisis is the twisted morality of bank employees – they have responsibility but they don't bear it. "The temptation is always the same for us bankers in this game: If I win, I get rich quick, if I lose, it will cost me my job, at worst. Then I can always do something else. Toss the coin. Heads: the cash flows in. Tails: My losses are limited. The attraction of winning is far higher than the potential losses involved, by a long way. This leaves little room for moral considerations."


Frankfurter Rundschau 06.10.2008

Necla Kelek vehemently disagrees with Seyla Benhabib's article last Friday, in which the political scientist, who teaches at Yale, described the headscarf debate in Turkey as the first steps towards pluralisation in society. The opposite is true, Kelek protests, there are no signs of democratic progress in Turkey: "If you look closely, you see that under the AKP, the Islamic way of life is increasingly taking control of daily life in Turkey. We are not talking about whether a girl can go to university wearing a headscarf, but whether she can walk down the streets in the country or in the city without covering her head, and not have to face harassment or abuse. ... There is no such thing as freedom from religion or positive religious freedom in Turkey – except for Sunni Muslims. There is discrimination against Alevis, Christians, Arameans and Jews. It is becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous for them to practise their rites."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 07.10.2008

Thomas Meyer spent a fascinating evening in Zurich's central station at the performance of La Traviata, which was broadcast live on Swiss TV and the German-French station Arte (still available online). It was directed by Adrian Marthaler. "The people follow the action like a swarm. From the orchestra podium over to the cafe, where Parisian society gathers for a party, then over to Platform 9 where the lovers part and Alfredo vanishes in the trail, while Violetta rides a little baggage car over to another cafe. There the performance takes on a ghostly aspect, because the orchestra is barely audible." The audience "turns into a flock of extras, an active, ever-present mass, sometimes looking away, chatting, moving on, smiling and yet somehow always concentrated on what is going on and enjoying every moment of it."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 09.10.2008

Franz Haas delves into the can of worms which Spike Lee opened with his film "The Miracle at St. Anna." The film honours black American soldiers fighting in WWII, but Lee also c- arelessly - made a traitor of one of the Italian partisans and blamed him for the SS massacre of 560 civilians. Now partisan associations in Italy are up in arms, angrily denying that such a thing happened. "In actual fact a debate about this has been simmering away in Italy for years now and only a few weeks ago, some punch-packing remarks by right-wing politicians turned it up to boiling point. One month ago the post-fascist Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa explained that it was important to uphold the honour of the 'patriots', the 'good lads' of the Repubblica di Salo', Mussolini's last squad of fanatics in the fight against the 'allied invaders and the red partisans'."


Die Zeit 09.10.2008

Writer Doron Rabinovici explains why in Austria, this "refuge of counter-reformation", protest always comes in racist cladding. "Racism has a long tradition in Austria, but it seldom turns violent. There are no such things as national liberated zones. In the polling booth, rebellion happens when no one else is looking, and this rebellion stands for radical opposition – as long as whatever is being protested against seems secure."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 10.10.2008

Peter Urban-Halle has no real quibbles about Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio winning the Nobel Prize for literature. He appreciates the novelist's "elegantly sophisticated style", "his colourful description, his musical undertones." But he has a few reservations: "In his early novels there is an overwhelming sense of misanthropic reality and disgust at life. His second book "The Flood" encapsulated the experience of catastrophe. With "Shark" in 1971 he changed tack and headed for non-European cultures and their holistic view of the world and things in general. In his seemingly simplistic, discreet way, Le Clezio is attacking the divide between man and matter. You could almost describe the result as reactionary, a refusal of intelligence and sophistication."


Die Presse 10.10.2008

Norbert Mayer could not be more contemptuous about Le Clezio's nomination. "The Academy can be relied upon to be narrow-minded. True to form, Engdahl and the other Swedish jury members awarded the Nobel Prize to a well-travelled Frenchman, a diligent scribe who is remarkable for being completely unremarkable outside Paris, despite having spent the last 35 years writing nice, conscientious literature which practises tough criticism of the capitalist west, while presenting exotic civilisations as naive and happy. A model Swede."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 10.10.2008

Patrick Bahners and Alexander Cammann interview Ralf Dahrendorf about the finance crisis, but he refuses to join in the chorus of complaint about the usual suspects. "The only ones who can deal with the crisis are the Americans. They are far more radical than the Europeans. Europeans love to talk – especially about systems. We must change the entire system, they pipe up immediately. And then start proclaiming the end of capitalism or the social economy. But in America they actually try to solve the problem. And they will be far more radical that all the Europeans. Just like Roosevelt's 'New Deal' answer to the Great Depression in the thirties was far more radical than all the ideas of the European socialists put together."

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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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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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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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