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22/10/2010

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 16.10.2010

In 1968 a number of editors at the Suhrkamp publishing house staged a protest against the publisher Siegfried Unseld. Sandra Kegel reads a newly published chronicle of the uprising, and it turns out that Unseld was taking plenty of notes! He finally triumphed over the rebels by turning to his authors for support. "With obvious relish Unseld cites the reactions of the big names in his portfolio. Adorno, for example, could not believe that 'the children' as he called the thirty-year-old editors, had lost all sense of proportion. The philosopher viewed the editors' revolt as a 'lapse into socialism at its most primitive'. Unlike authors and publishers, he believed, editors were 'third persons' in the Marxist sense. Unseld didn't understood what he meant, so Adorno explained again: They are parasites 'like pimps and whores.'"


Die Welt 18.10.2010

The journalist Güner Yasemin Balci would like to know why writer Feridun Zaimoglu and filmmaker Fatih Akin feel so discriminated against as Muslims in Germany – (last month they signed an open letter to the new German President Christian Wulff, calling for a democratic culture of mutual respect). She had always regarded them as champions of enlightenment: "Take Akin's film 'Head-On' in which the female protagonist is battling with her family because she wants to be able to decide whom she goes to bed with. Or Zaimoglu's novel 'Leyla', which shows the violent excesses meted out by an Anatolian tyrant against his wife and children. Were these stories about Muslim women oppressed by their families serious in intent - or were they just the sort of 'stereotyping' you both complain about so much?"


Die Tageszeitung
19.10.2010

In the Gaza Strip a new faction is gaining power for whom the Hamas are too mild: the Salafis or the Palestinian Taliban, confide in Susanne Knaul at a conspiratorial meeting: "The Salafis are happy to oblige if an Internet cafe needs setting alight because someone has downloaded some porn there, or a hairdresser's where men cut women's hair. 'We always warn people, al-Hareth says. 'Only repeat offenders are punished.'"


Süddeutsche Zeitung 19.10.2010

Alex Rühle celebrates forty-something Cologne band Erdmöbel (meaning 'earth furniture', which they claim is a GDR word for coffin). "You don't need Monaco to make great pop music, the songs of the Cologne band have always focused on the small towns and suburbs where all our lives take place, which is why we think they don't warrant more than a cursory glance. Fantasy, writes guitarist Markus Berges citing Vladimir Nabokov in his freshly published first novel, fantasy is the muscle of the soul. With Nabokov, he says, that the true sense of beauty has 'less to do with art than with the constant readiness to discern the halo round the frying-pan (…)- In 'Life is Beautiful!' Erdmöbel sing 'Red skies over chimney stacks / Sweet wrappers between train tracks' and they cry, or rather shout at the end: 'And it's beautiful / Life is beautiful / I don't understand your tears'. Long live the frying-pan!"


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 20.10.2010


Peter Hagmann was bowled over, at the Donaueschinger music festival, by Austrian Georg Friedrich Haas' Concerto grosso, for six grand pianos and orchestra: "What made it so unique was that the six grands had been tuned microtonally apart. At the premiere, under the conductor Sylvain Cambreling, this literally pulled the carpet out from under the audience's feet. From the pianos came a caterwauling glissandi, which a straight-laced string quintet sought to counter, and thundering earthquakes of notes pummeled out from the depths of the keyboard that produced no end of filthy sounds."


Berliner Zeitung 20.10.2010

The regime critical Moscow newspaper Novaya Gazeta (where Anna Politkovskaya worked before her murder) is on the brink of closure, reports Daria Afonina. After an article about a far-right party, the paper was accused of 'fascist propaganda' and issued with a warning. Afonina cites the acting editor-in-chief Sergey Sokolov: "He says there is a increased tendency at present to persecute the media for so-called propaganda. The course of action taken by civil servants from the Ministry of Communication he attributes 'either to the ignorance of individuals' or to a policy of systematically punishing the media for critical reporting."


Die Tageszeitung 21.10.2010

The sinologist Andreas Schlieker reports on the "Freud and Asia" conference in China which is the first time the country has opened up to psychoanalysis, officially registering in the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA). "Until now there has been no place in the new China for the structure of the heart, as psychology is called there. During the Cultural Revolution, class war and permanent revolution was all that counted. Anyone showing the correct red consciousness was considered psychologically healthy. Everything was political, nothing was private, nothing individual."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
22.10.2010

Necla Kelek
has harsh words for almost every part of the speech that German president Christian Wulff delivered to the Turkish parliament (more here). She was particularly appalled by his constant emphasis on religion: "Can't we just be Germans and Turks for once, instead of Christians, Jews and Muslims; citizens rather than believers or unbelievers? Is that the mission of the ProChrist (an Evangelical missionary movement which Wulff supports -ed) and Catholic Christian Wulff? If the return of belief is the presidential message from Ankara, then we stand before a new religious conflict in our state. And the president has started it with his simplistic speech, far off in Turkey."

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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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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 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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