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

GoetheInstitute

05/06/2009

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.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 30.05.2009

Joseph Haydn died two hundred years ago. Herbert Lachmayer celebrates him as a musician of the Enlightenment and as a man who embraced the opportunities offered by the improved distribution and printing of sheet music. "As a musician who discovered and contributed to the development of this supra-national music market, Hayden seems incredibly modern to us today, even topical. Hayden cleverly and subversively ruptured the exclusive claims made on the court composer by the royal house – such as the following clause form his first service contract in 1761: 'Hereby shall Joseph Heyden be regarded and held as an officer of the house.' The remaining clauses were no less restrictive or humiliating: he was to compose whatever the prince desired; all compositions would remain in the exclusive property of the prince; and he was obliged to bow and scrape on a daily basis, most humbly taking orders from his Highness etc., etc."


Frankfurter Rundschau
02.06.2009

A glowing Hans-Jürgen Linke reports back from the premiere of Robert Wilson's "magical" producton of Weber's 'The Marksman' at the Festspielhaus, Baden-Baden. It was conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock and the Swarovski-studded costumes were designed by fashion duo Viktor & Rolf: "After the very un-Christian conflict of brilliant colour in the first two acts everything, even Agathe's wedding cake dress, turns innocently white, save for the red of the shoes. The huntsmen chorus (Viennese Philharmonia Choir conducted by Walter Zeh) enters the stage dressed all in white (except for the aforementioned shoes) and sing the famously volksliedsy composition to a disarmingly simple and goofy choreography. Its side-splitting hilarity combines so enchantingly with the horns' intoning that a rare and wonderful thing happens: mid-performance, a German opera audience starts applauding for a huntsman chorus encore."

A video from the dress rehearsal:




Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
02.06.2009

Julia Voss visited the newly opened Magritte Museum (website) in Brussels and was suitably impressed: "Magritte's paintings were not displayed in isolation, but were hung together with drawings, posters, advertising commissions, photographs, even films. Suddenly you see how much good this does Magritte's work. It might be detrimental to most artists to hang their work in tight clusters, but Magritte profits. His work suddenly looks like an ambitious world-changing project, a tireless shunting of meaning which sends word and image, language and reality spinning ever further apart."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 03.06.2009

Economic ethicist
Peter Koslowski explains why restoring trust is irrelevant for the world of finance. "The financial system is not based on trust, it is based on securities, on secured credit. Banks do not trust their customers and their customers should not trust them back. Both have to provide security to gain credit - or trust - in return." For this reason he regards bail-out programmes with suspicion. "Trying to re-establish trust by veiling bankruptcy is like trying to extinguish fire with fire."


From the blogs 03.06.2009

The UN Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution that will prevent an investigation into the alleged war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan army against the Tamil Tigers during the final days of the war. But a double crime took place: The Tamil Tigers barricaded themselves into refugee camps using civilians as human shields, and the troops, according to reports by journalists and NGOs, fired at them mercilessly. The blog Liza's Welt comments: "Unlike the procedures taken by the Israeli army against Hamas, those deployed by the Sri Lankan army, and this year in particular, can no longer be justified as necessary defence against terror. Yet the slaughter carried out by the Sri Lankan army hardly provoked a flicker of media protest – compared with the outrage at the attacks launched by the Israeli army in response to the rockets fired out of Gaza. And this, although the number of victims was umpteens times higher than in Gaza, and attacks on civilians were not the exception but the rule itself."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
04.06.2009

Chinese writer Li Dawei, who today lives in Los Angeles and writes in English, believes that the heavenly peace in China, twenty years after the Tiananmen massacre, is deceptive: "The crisis twenty years ago could have been resolved by implementing a series of reforms, but the leaders failed to seize the chance. Today's crisis is much more complicated. People are increasingly becoming aware that a parasitic minority is living the good life at the cost of the hard-working majority. This majority will probably not stop at demonstrating, like the students in 1989, to air their grievances. Mao's spirit is still alive in this country, wandering secretly at night."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
04.06.2009

Paul Ingendaay met the Spanish writer Rafael Chirbes, whose latest novel "Crematorium" describes the run up to the huge property crash that shook his country. But it also goes deeper: "This is a novel about what went wrong after Franco's death. How democracy indulged its children in their desire to experiment, to cook up high-flying plans; how people dreamed of forgetting their parents' poverty and striding freely into the future; and how it all ended in power games and a giant pocket-lining competition, without regulation, without civil virtues and without sparing a thought for the environment, which has never played a role in Spanish politics."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung
05.06.2009

Following the suicide on May 23 of Korea's former president Roh Moo Hyun, Ho Nam Seelmann explains the role of responsibility, shame and death in Korean culture (where guilt is not administered by the church). "When a person dies in Korea, the earthy criteria for judging them die with them. Death is beyond legal but also moral judgement. There is no such thing in Korean tradition as a judgement that reaches into the afterlife, like that of the Christian god. Even dictators and murderers join the ancestors after death, and we venerate them with an altar – a tradition which Europeans often find incomprehensible."

Get the signandsight newsletter for regular updates on feature articles.
signandsight.com - let's talk european.

 
More articles

From the Feuilletons

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.
read more

From the Feuilletons

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.
read more

From the feuilletons

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.
read more

From the Feuilletons

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.
read more

From the Feuilletons

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more