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GoetheInstitute

16/01/2006

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.

Monday 16 January, 2006

Die Welt, 16.01.2006


Rainer Haubrich takes the demolition of the Palast der Republik (the Palace of the People in the former GDR), which is set to begin after a final parliamentary vote on January 20, as an opportunity to revel in the prospect of the Stadtschloss (city palace) which is to be re-built in its place. "When, at the beginning of next year, the last pieces of the Palace of the People are being dismantled, there will be a feeling of emptiness, similar to the feeling that prevailed after the demolition of the Stadtschloss, a barbaric act that was ordered by Communist Party head Walter Ulbricht. Then it will be much clearer how important it is to fill this painful hole in the cultural map of the republic with form and content. Both have succeeded. The 'Humboldt Forum' that will be housed behind the reconstructed Baroque facade of Schlüters and Eosanders will refer way back into German history and way ahead into the 21st century."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 16.01.2006

Bahman Nirumand sings praises of the liberating effects of the Internet in Iran and cites a study by the Iranian Nasrin Alavi on the weblog-scene among the country's youth. "Many write about their everyday lives, their fears of the future and their wishes for another life or another love. What is most noticeable is the enormous desire for freedom, for light-heartedness, a life without pressure. 'The day will come when everything is good,' writes one. 'There will be no censor combing through the blogs... Then you and I will wander through the streets with a bottle of champagne, assuming your mother permits that, of course."


Die Tageszeitung, 16.01.2006


The immigration researcher Necla Kelek defends the so-called "Muslim Test" (news story) which has been in practice in Baden-Württemberg since the beginning of the year. "The proudly cherished 'alarmist' culture which thrives in the German public commands ever more of my respect: one is immediately ready to take sides with those presumed to be weak or threatened. At the same time it astounds me that this solidarity is often blind – blind to what is actually worth defending in one's own society, one's own constitution and in some cases, must be defended. (...) Let us stop placing immigrants and their position on the central issues of democracy under nature conservation."


Saturday 14 January, 2006

Berliner Zeitung, 14.01.2006

The weekend magazine features a delightful interview with German-American author Irene Dische about her book "Großmama packt aus" (Grandma unpacks), and spoiled children in Germany: "In any event, children don't harbour illusions. They see what their father or mother are like, and they accept it, even if it hurts. My daughter went to an English military school here in Berlin. All the other parents were soldiers. A lot of them were pretty ordinary folk, and very young, who'd had their first kids at 16. My daughter was asked to keep a journal, and it was later shown to us. The school had absolutely no notion of a private sphere. She'd written: 'I wish my mother was a housewife named Linda and my daddy a soldier named Bob. I wish they were much younger.' I'll never forget those two lines. She was seven at the time. And at Parents' Day my poor husband had to race against the other fathers, who were all in their mid-twenties, while the kids looked on. And I had an American accent, which was incredibly embarrassing for my kids at this English school. Children are fellow travellers, who just swim with the tide! Whenever I was there with my daughter, she'd say to me: 'Don't speak!'"


Die Tageszeitung, 14.01.2006

Gerrit Bartels analyses how Germany's most popular and controversial literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki continues to be the hub around which German letters revolve: "He's a luminary, a brand name that continues to sell. And he still holds court at the culture desk of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, (of which he was formerly chief editor – ed). He just keeps writing for the paper, and in doing so he keeps building up an enthusiastic readership. Marcel Reich-Ranicki is a continually self-reproducing system: columns like the ones he writes for the Sunday edition of the FAZ become books; discussions and interviews he gives become books; and a lot of his old newspaper articles (like for example 'On the Americans') do too. And his books then become advance publications and newspaper articles with and about Reich-Ranicki. And these in turn will generate a new batch of books."
See our feature "Are you done? I've got things to do", an interview with Marcel Reich-Ranicki.


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 14.01.2006

Sören Urbansky has visited a museum in Pingfang in Northeast China dedicated to experiments with biological weapons carried out on the civilian population by the Japanese occupation forces in World War II. Everything is shown with wax figures: "Live dissections, frozen bodies and corpses piled in the crematorium, all accompanied by recorded screams." The Chinese government uses the museum for national purposes, Urbansky writes. For him the exhibits are "sometimes artificial, and seem to comply with a specific aesthetic that, to quote Ian Buruma, is typified by 'a strange mix of holy memorial to Chinese martyrdom and wax museum.' The explanatory panels have all the subtlety of heavy-handed war propaganda: only a grand, steeled nation can ensure that the Chinese race and civilisation will survive for thousands of years."

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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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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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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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