?From the great beyond into the present? ? an interview with Jo Lendle

Hanser publisher Jo Lendle talks about gentle adjustments of languages and marketing strategies.... more more

GoetheInstitute

01/09/2005

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.

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 01.09.2005

"It is always justifiable when writers categorically refuse to participate actively in an election campaign", writes Tanja Dückers in answer to Eva Menasse's complaint about the "opportunistic diffidence on the part of today's writers" in the current election campaign. Taking a look at the young writers who have been recruited into the ranks of the SPD, Dückers concludes they seem to have no visions of their own. "There is no longer even the faintest whiff of that spirit of rebellion or desire for change that once brought people flocking to the SPD or the Green Party. The Kosovo War, the Hartz IV reforms to unemployment and social security benefits, cuts in social services, they support the whole package. Writers for Hartz IV! - that's what today's young rebels are saying."

Tomas Avenarius writes uneasily about the steady growth of radical Islam of Egypt. In his view even the country's intellectuals have made a pact with it. Sayyid Al-Qimni for example, lecturer on the sociology of religion at Cairo University and "known in Egypt for his sharp-tongued critique of Islamic zealots", had promised not to write any more after receiving a death threat. But no one is getting upset. Avenarius explains what makes Al-Qimni so dangerous to the Islamists: He argues in a religious way. "Only Islamistic argumentation can still engender dialogue. Western rationale and critique, whether from outside or from within, has long fallen on deaf ears. The audience simply no longer has the necessary argumentative synapses. People who argue the Islamist point of view feel they have a monopoly on truth. They simply don't take note of non-Islamic arguments. The fact that al-Qimni suggests that Islam is not necessarily divine prophecy, but rather the result of political reckoning, makes things even worse for the Islamists. Al-Qimni says Muhammad set himself up as a prophet to unite the Arabs, and in that way to make them the cornerstone of a world empire."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 01.09.2005

The Turkish public attorney's office is threatening to try Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk (Snow) for slander of the Turkish nation, which could result in a two to three year prison sentence, reports Hubert Spiegel. The charges were brought after an interview Pamuk gave to the German Weltwoche newspaper in February in which he called the Turkish genocide of the Armenians by its name. Spiegel comments: "Orhan Pamuk endorses the EU entry of his homeland. Now aside from the threat to his person he must be particularly hard hit by the painful irony that it his because of him that Turkey's hopes of entrance will be reduced significantly. Because who in Europe is now going to back the accession of a country that persecutes its most important poet for speaking historical truths?" See our feature "The Turkish trauma", an interview with Orhan Pamuk.


25 years of Solidarnosc...

Die Zeit reprints a very moving article published in the Polish paper Gazeta Wyborcza by editor-in-chief Adam Michnik (more here), in which he looks back on the founding of Solidarnosc 25 years ago: "Things weren't easy for us – the security apparatus poisoned our lives with arrests, maltreatment, extortion and bans on people exercising their professions. They collected incriminating evidence against us, invented compromising material and divided us with lies and intrigues. A lot of people couldn't take the pressure. They got out, broke down or left Poland. Nobody at the time would ever have thought that years later when there was no more security service, people's police or even any Soviet Union, the secret service archives from those days would be used by political opportunists today, and that the beautiful time full of beautiful people would turn into a quagmire of denunciations. Because the bloodless Solidarnosc revolution in Poland really was beautiful – it was a carnival of freedom, patriotism and truth. It brought out the very best in people: altruism, tolerance, noble-mindedness, and openness to others. It was creative, it gave people back their dignity and didn't feed on the need for revenge. Never before and never afterwards was Poland such a congenial country."

Writing in Die Welt, Political scientist Piotr Bura is concerned about the legacy of Solidarnosc. The republican spirit and willingness to compromise it showed in 1989 are increasingly coming under conservative fire. "The third revolution, which its initiators prefer to call the 'moral revolution', is aimed at the 'third republic' (the post-communist period) as much as the communists. It is a sad paradox that of all people, the most outspoken defenders of the 'third republic' today are former communists. The 'moral revolution' should free the corrupt state from the ex-communists and bring to public life the promise of a new start. The advocates of a 'fourth republic' often cite the USA as a role model, with its powerful president and efficient public attorney's office. This strong state should be backed by the introduction of the death penalty and the idea of a 'super attorney's office' with extraordinary competencies and an exceptional position in the constitutional system."

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