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GoetheInstitute

16/07/2010

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 Allgemeine Zeitung 10.07.2010

Fifteen years after the massacre of Bosnian Muslims by Serbian militias in Srebrenica the Germanist Jürgen Brokoff asks whether, in line with recent critical consensus, it really is possible to separate poetry and politics in the work of Peter Handke. Absolutely not, Brokoff believes, for a string of pertinent reasons: "To criticise Handke on the basis of his so-called naïve political opinions is whitewashing. The author's real fall from grace is not in the political but in the literary field. His highly strategic literary deployment of the language of Serbian nationalism, his anti-Muslim and anti-Albanian insinuations on the symbolic level and his mockery of the Muslim victims of the Bosnian war make this a clear case."


Frankfurter Rundschau 10.07.2010

Arno Widmann talked to the publisher Klaus Wagenbach on the eve of his 80th birthday and was let in on the secret of his company's success: "The so-called herzklausel or clause of the heart. Our publishing programme is run on consensus. All our editors have to agree on every book. But we also have the heart clause. If one of the editors is determined that a particular book should be published and the others don't agree, he or she will be asked if his heart is set on it. If the answer is yes, we go with it. If the book then flops, the editor in question will not get off lightly."


Die Welt 11.07.2010

The pianist Evgeny Kissin wrote a letter to the BBC to complain about what he considered to be their partisan reporting on Israel. In an interview with Manuel Brug, he explains his reasoning. "The 20th century had its fair share of artists who supported evil regimes out of political naivete – Ezra Pound for example or Knut Hamsun in WWII, or the countless western artists who spoke out in favour of the Soviet Union. But one man stands out for me and that is Mstislav Rostropovich. He rallied to the side of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn the moment the Soviets started tightening the screws."

A 15-year-old Kissin plays Chopin's Mazurka in C-minor




Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
13.07.2010

Kerstin Holm reports on the closely watched Moscow trial in which the two curators of the "Forbidden Art" exhibition Yuri Samodurov and Andrei Yerofeyev were pronounced guilty as charged, but "only" received fines and not prison sentences. The accused plan to file for appeal and clear their names and the name of art. "The supposed leniency of the sentence is a clear message from the Russian state that the sphere of prohibition can be extended at any time. And for the first time in a while, forbidden art is now officially back in Russia." And Sonja Zekri in the Süddeutsche Zeitung comments: "The sentence is not drastic enough to provoke a storm of international solidarity, but it is a guilty verdict that makes it very clear that any further artistic attempt to challenge orthodoxy could well end behind bars."

Wolfgang Schrieber and Betting Ehrhardt talk to the composer Wolfgang Rihm about his new Nietzsche-inspired opera "Dionysos" which is set to open this year's Salzburg Festival. Will the audience still understand the story against such a complicated background? Rihm, lightly irked, replies: "You don't have to explain anything. I don't want to explain anything. As soon as you start explaining things, it  becomes so headmasterly, with all that pointing and knowing better. I make art, I don't know any better (...) And this not-knowing is what I do best. This not-knowing is not a cross I have to bear, this ability not to know is a gift."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 15.07.2010

The philosophy professor Otfried Höffe explains that will not be speaking at World Philosophy Day in Tehran, because President Ahmadinejad has selected a number of highly problematic figures for the executive board, among them a certain philosophy professor Haddad Adel: "Adel is not just an academic philosopher, he is so intimately involved in the machinations of the regime that it is impossible to blend out the politics that have been at work since Ahmedinejad took office. Only weeks ago Adel threatened dissidents with a repeat of 'Kahrisak' – which basically means locking up scores of people in a freight container, systematically raping youths and grown men and burning the corpses of torture victims."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 15.07.2010

Alex Rühle visited Duisburg-Marxloh, an area of the Ruhr that was once in the running for Germany's top ghetto. But thanks to an astonishingly successful intercultural project (based in the Medienbunker) started by a group of young German-Turks calling themselves "city therapists", this is all safely in the past. "Istanbul's board of trade recently launched a campaign under the slogan 'Duisburg: the gateway to the Western European market'. In a restaurant on the Weseler Straße sit forty representatives of the Dutch city archive who have travelled from Arnheim to see for themselves how this city has pulled itself out of the gutter... Inside, one of the Arnheimers slurps gleefully from his glass of ayran and declares: 'If you can pull off the miracle of Marxloh, we can do the same for Arnheim."


Frankfurter Rundschau 16.07.2010

The funeral in Berlin of Fritz Teufel, co-founder of the famous Berlin Kommune 1 who described himself as a spass guerilla or fun-guerilla, was a predominantly silver-haired affair, Arno Widmann reports. "There were representatives from all factions of the armed struggle, some in wheel chairs or pushing zimmer frames. (...) A few months ago, a friend told me that she had recently chaperoned Fritz Teufel. Despite being critically ill and very shaky, he was constantly cracking jokes. As she was leaving, though, he looked her directly in the eye, summoned all his strength and said: 'I don't know you very well. If you are delicate, the flu will probably do the job, but if you really want to feel something, try Parkinson's."

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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