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GoetheInstitute

01/03/2006

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.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 01.03.2006

Richard Kämmerlings leafs through the catalogues of the major German literary publishers and finds an almost complete absence of poets under forty. A mistake, he writes, because he has no trouble listing any number of talented young poets "who have done their literary apprenticeships in small scenes and circles. And although publishers have pursued young novelists with a vengeance in recent years, snatching manuscripts out of the hands of even the most talentless graduates of literary institutes, almost no poets have been taken on by established publishers. Seldom has the gap between literary relevance and representation in bookshops been as wide as it is now in the generation of German-speaking poets under, say, thirty-five." Luckily Kämmerlings can name one small exception, kookbooks run by Daniela Seel, herself a poet.


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 01.03.2006


In an essay of epic proportions, sociologist Wolfgang Sofsky (book info here) imagines a possible influenza pandemic which could leave an estimated 180 to 360 million dead: "The air we breathe – the medium of infection – has no boundaries. Quarantine and hygiene, the tried and tested weapons against tuberculosis, are almost useless against the flu. Closing the airports and cordoning off individual districts will at best delay the invasion. It will hardly be possible to maintain traffic blockades over a longer term... Smuggling of goods and people will take off, as populations flee to the supposedly virus-free zones. The authorities will have to use local militias to stop the migrants. Although it itself declared the state of emergency, the executive will risk losing its sovereignty and its monopoly on physical force will erode. The police and support staff will desert because the public services will also be decimated by the plague."


Die Tageszeitung, 01.03.2006

Friedrich Küppersbusch bumps heads with Christoph Keese, chief editor of the weekly die Welt am Sonntag, over 100 days of the Grand Coalition between Germany's CDU and SPD parties. Whereas Keese attests to chancellor Angela Merkel as a woman of substance, Küppersbusch explains: "Merkel fits the current political picture aesthetically. She is pushing through with the Agenda 2010 with an aura of stout-hearted joylessness. Former chancellor Gerhard Schröder's approach to these policies, which are joyless for much of the population, was to say: tighten your belts and fetch me a Cohiba. That's why he had to go. Merkel's political-aesthetic image is coherent. She is the WW II Trümmerfrau or rubble woman. That was her role among the Christian Democrats. And the Schäubles, Rühes, Kochs and Wulfs (prominent CDU politicians - ed) of this world were always under the misconception that they could get rid of her and start having some fun again. But they underestimated her strength."


Frankfurter Rundschau, 01.03.2006


Martina Meister comments on the French reaction to the brutal gang murder of the Jewish telephone salesman Ilan Halimi. But was it really an anti-Semitic crime? "The worrying thing about the way society has labelled this crime stems from a feeling that classifying it as anti-Semitic in some way ennobles a barbaric act by lending it political and ideological dimensions. As if hidden behind this new phase in teenage banditry and increased brutality that makes last November's car burning look like harmless fun, is a truth which French society is still hesitant to face. By mourning a Jew rather than a citizen, France is burying its republican ideals of equality and subtly nearing the Anglo-American model of co-existing 'communities'."


Die Welt, 01.03.2006


Thomas Hahn has visited Monte Carlo, where artistic director Jean-Christophe Maillot and his Ballet de Monte Carlo have presented "A Midsummer Night's Dream" to the assembled Grimaldi Dynasty. "For his jubilee creation, Maillot went so far as to engage an actor from the Comedie Francaise to coach his dancers. For a long time now he has worked on fostering their dramatic talent, but now they lend the term 'interpret a role' a dimension hitherto undreamed of in the ballet. One part of the troupe acts – no, dances – pure theatre as workers in the woods, rehearsing their upcoming play. As the scene progresses they become so vocal that their voices fill even the Grimaldi Forum, with its more than one thousand seats."

With an eye to Iranian history, Berthold Seewald analyses the two powerful forces operating on the country: on the one hand the practice of Shia, and on the other power aspirations harking back to Ancient Persia. "With the exception of the last Shah, Reza Pahlavi, modernisers have always taken the great kings of ancient times as a model for the country's future. The clergy, by contrast, has established itself as the custodian of the last Shiite truth, following the will of the Hidden Imam until he returns to guide humanity." This split is still evident today. "When the Iranian president talks of nuclear power and threatens the West with the holy war, that too is an attempt at balancing Persian greatness and Islamic faith."

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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 2 - Friday 8 October, 2010

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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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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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Saturday 4 - Friday 10 September, 2010

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