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

24/02/2005

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.

Die Zeit, 24.02.2005

On the political page, Georg Blume gives a portrait of Peking writer Yin Luchuan, who publishes her texts exclusively on her very colourful weblog. "She has had enough of the western style academic jargon of her colleagues, enough of Marx and Mao, Sartre and Camus. For her, it all sounds the same." But she has also had enough of political phraseology. Instead she wants to introduce "the new tones and resonances of everyday life into Chinese literature." Blume quotes Yin's agenda: "Today we are investing Chinese everyday life with new meaning. There are no heroes any more. Anyone who wants to can be a singer or writer. Thatā€™s our epoch."

Claus Spahn wonders who could bear the sheer number of VIPs at Katharina Wagner's staging of Albert Lortzing's opera "The Armourer" in Munich. Guests at the premiere included "Bavarian cultural poobahs, distinguished guests from the Richard Wagner associations, conductors Christian Thielemann of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and Adam Fischer of the Mannheim National Theatre. And in the box of honour sat the head of the Munich Festival, Katharina's father Wolfgang Wagner with his wife Gudrun." Everyone was expecting a delicious foretaste of the much awaited "Meistersingers" production announced for 2007 in Bayreuth. But the staging by Richard Wagner's great granddaughter "fell apart pitifully under the weight of public expectation. For three whole acts she rides the arduous themes like a wobbly hobby horse. The lighter moments fall away altogether - although granted, the Wagner family was never known for its subtle wit."

Julia Gerlach reports on the United Arab Emirates, where lots of money is being invested in constructing museums and attracting internationally renowned artists. But there are "clearly defined rules and taboos that also hold for the art world. In the Academy of Arts, for example, there are no nude sketches, and images of naked people are not shown in museums. 'And we do not show works that make overt political statements,' says Maissa al-Suwaidi. 'Artists can do what they want. But it goes against our culture to affront people.'"


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 24.02.2005

Joachim Güntner recapitulates the current perception of the RAF and concludes: the RAF is not being played down today. On the contrary, even leftist commentators are lamenting its lack of legitimation. The most recent psychograms show the members as apolitical, motivated by a desire for violence and weapons. "'Andreas Baader's power over women lies in the fact that he took their phallic desire seriously,' writes Karin Wieland, who researches intellectual history and masculine self images, in the recent publication by the Hamburg Institute for Social Research "Rudi Dutschke, Andreas Baader and the RAF". For Wieland, this explains both Baader's role as political instigator and the irritating female obsession with weapons in the RAF. All that remains of the founding RAF generation is a ménage à trois. Baader - Ensslin - Meinhof: the story of a bondage. And doesn't Astrid Proll also say that the RAF were actually a LBF - a Liberated Baader Faktion - where everything revolved around one man?"


Die Tageszeitung, 24.02.2005

"It seems to be a current trend in film to dish up stale material as 'new discoveries' - and for publicists to refer to previously unknown documents," writes Barbara Schweizerhof about Marc Rothemund's film "Sophie Scholl - The Last Days", which won two silver bears at this year's Berlinale. "Just like Bernd Eichinger's "Downfall", Rothemund's film tries to rejuvenate the 'Heimatfilm' genre. Whether White Rose anti-Nazi conspirators or Nazi interrogators - they all seem remarkably close and intimate, characters who hide their own internal cleavage behind their sense of duty. These typical, controlled - in both senses of the word - Germans have one thing in common: they were 'actually' not Nazis. In Rothemund's film, Sophie Scholl's path to execution is lined with kind sympathisers. Who could resist Julia Jentsch in her incarnation of the 'girl wonder' with all the classic virtues - diligent, strong-willed, natural - or in other words, upstanding, not too intellectual and with that defensive eroticism which arouses men's protective instincts. Contrary to what the preview suggests, 'Sophie Scholl - The Last Days' does not irritate viewers with an overabundance of historical details."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 24.02.2005


Islam specialist and author Narvid Kermani expresses fears about European foreign policy, which he sees as being too friendly with the Iranian Mullahs. In Kermani's view, the American project of a new order in the Near and Middle East is closer to the hearts of most Iranians than the altruistic European overtures. "In European policy we are seeing the rebirth of a monster that has wreaked havoc in the Middle East, and which threatens the security of the West even today: the villain who is not a villain, because he's my villain. If you don't insist on basic common values, if you are willing to deal with the darkest of political forces, you shouldn't be surprised when these forces turn against you one day. If you don't have any moral values yourself, you can't expect them from villains just because they're your friends.ā€¯


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 24.02.2005

Regina Mönch discusses a proposal by the CDU/CSU parliamentary fraction regarding Turkey's accession to the EU. According to the proposal, "Germany must help reconcile Turkey and Armenia." Mönch asserts that, despite Turkey's considerable progress on many fronts, it shows little sign of budging on this issue. "Anyone who doesn't believe this should have a look at the official website of the Turkish foreign ministry. Granted, the law threatening anyone - even independent historians - with prison if they call the Armenian genocide a genocide has been modified. But now it is a penal offence to talk about this genocide in the context of events that are funded externally or organised by foundations where 'material interest' could be at stake. Rich terrain for arbitrary judgement."

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 talksĀ Ā  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