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

04/08/2005

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, 04.08.2005

In an interview with Bernadette Conrad, American writer Jonathan Franzen talks about his most recent book "Strong Motion", his time in Germany – where he studied at Berlin's Free University on a Fulbright scholarship - and what he got out of it. "An addiction to cigarettes, increased tolerance for alcohol, scepticism about America and the certainty that I prefer to live in America than in Europe. I came back home cured of my desire to live in the old world."

The historian Heinrich August Winkler explains in enormous detail why the successful recipe for democratising Germany after 1945 is not working in Iraq. "Germany could only be liberated from the outside in 1945. West Germany was able to follow the path from liberation to freedom because it could latch onto liberated, constitutional and democratic traditions that could be resuscitated. ... If there is anything to be learned from the democratisation of Germany in the context of Iraq or other countries, it's that the decisive impulse must come from the country itself."


Die Tageszeitung, 04.08.2005

Navid Kermani (more) visited Israel and the Palestinian territories and returned furious and deeply depressed. The Palestinians, he reports, are so desperate that "a religious dogmatism is spreading among them, which is even more extreme than what I witnessed in Iran." Kermani asks why the Israelis cannot treat the Palestinians like people? "I write this as if it were a generalisation, but I can cite dozens of examples from this five day visit and my previous trip, of how the Palestinians are humiliated on a daily basis, their dignity battered, they are treated like criminals, locked up in cages, driven on by loaded machine guns. This is daily life for almost all Palestinians. Whenever they want to go from A to B they have to run past loaded guns which are pointed at them. The checkpoint in Gaza looks like Germany's East-West crossings, except that the Palestinians are not sitting in cars, but sent running through the barriers like pigs. At the checkpoint one Israeli soldier asked me what I was doing there, was I a vet?"


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 04.08.2005

Berlin's Museum Island (3D model) dominates the first page of the SZ feuilleton. There are five museums on the island in the centre of the city, all built between 1830 and 1930: the Alte Museum built by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, the Neue Museum by Friedrich August Stüler which has been a ruin since 1954, the Alte Nationalgalerie which reopened in 2002, the Bodemuseum and Alfred Messel's Pergamon Museum. All five are being renovated, partily extended and connected by a system of underground "archaeological promenades". The renovations are due for completion in 2009. This week, the Society for Historical Berlin criticised the modernisation plans of British architect David Chipperfield who is in charge of the reconstruction of the Neue Museum and has designed a new central entrance hall. The "Society" however wants a complete reconstruction of the Neue Museum. In an interview, Chipperfield defends his concept. "We researched all possibilities and decided on a conserving restoration. We are keeping all the rooms, the structures, the walls of the Neue Museum, we are replacing the missing section of the building, but with a huge amount of care. Are we supposed to reinvent the lost decorative elements? This is not a solution. The Neue Museum is a memorial of the highest calibre. It's important to take a great deal of care not to make a synthetic copy. That would destroy the original. ... Which history should be reconstructed here anyway? Should we re-erect the original Stüler building? What would we do with all the alterations that were undertaken in the 1920s? I suspect the Society is interested in the Prussian period more than anything else. It is polemically pursuing a particular idea of history."


Frankfurter Rundschau, 04.08.2005

The FRplus features an interview with London-based writer Nadeem Aslam, about his new book "Maps for Lost Lovers" and the period following the bomb attacks. "When I stood in front of the house of the suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer, I saw the flowers in the garden and the car that desperately needed a wash. And it made me think that his mother must have planted the flowers six or eight weeks ago, before she had any idea that her son would be responsible for a mass murder and that I would end up standing in her garden. It made me think about the saying that evil is banal and about what hides behind facades. Mothers have a precarious role in Muslim society. They do not have equal rights as women, and yet they are responsible for making sure that nothing changes by raising their sons as chauvinists. And of course the understanding of roles which is passed down also has to do with economical and political conditions."


On Bayreuth and Christoph Schlingensief

Reporting from the Bayreuth Festival for the Frankfurter Rundschau, Hans-Klaus Jungheinrich tries to explain why Christoph Schlingensief's "Parsifal" is still enjoying cult status in its second year. "The professional virtuosity is still astonishing. Schlingensief makes a perfect synaesthetic connection between the crappily refined carefully dosed kinetic elements which are united on the one hand with abstract lighting techniques (light plays a much more effective role here than in Marthaler's Tristan – see Jungheinrich's review here) and on the other hand, the tropical African atmosphere, which is so fundamental to Schingensief's syncretic convergence."

Schlingensief's own statements are a little easier to understand. He writes in Die Zeit that he finds Angela Merkel "super cute" and that he's had enough of Gerhard Schröder. "For me, he's a 68er who wanted to show off his huge balls again. I can't take it any more. If everyone finds the CDU so great, then as far as I'm concerned, they should singe their arses on the hot seat for the next four years."

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