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GoetheInstitute

05/04/2006

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, 05.04.2006

Being in prison is almost like being pregnant: you're only concerned at the beginning and the end." The FAZ prints the notes Andrej Dynko, editor in chief of the Belarussian cultural magazine Nasa Niva made during his ten-day prison sentence. "Who are my fellow prisoners? Mostly people who have never been in prison before, young men between 18 and 35. A computer specialist from Minsk (born in Braslau in the north of Belarus), a DJ from Mahilyu, a trader from the 'Dinamo' market in Minsk (officer's son, born in Russia, came to Belarus aged 17) – all are the living refutation of idiotic nationalist clichees. A businessman in a cashmere coat, who also happens to be a protestant priest, a worker and musician from Homel, the journalist Vadzim Alexandrovitch from the newspaper Belarusy i Rynok, a plumber and former youth opposition member who also translates American cartoons into Belarussian."


Frankfurter Rundschau, 05.04.2006


Ina Hartwig reviews the letters exchanged between German author Gottfried Benn (1886-1956) and writer Ernst Jünger (1895-1998) between 1949 and 1956. Nine years Benn's junior, Jünger was keen to woo Benn after the war. "From 1949 until Benn's death in 1956, Captain Jünger would finally get what he was after. A warm, but by no means friendly relationship. He was simply not able to draw Benn into his fold, though not for lack of trying. One time he invites Benn to experiment with drugs ('We should sit down one time and have a good talk about mescalin'). Another time he pleads Benn to visit him at the Mediterranean. Benn remains demure – and beguilingly fatalistic: he has all the stimulants he needs with 'coffee and cigarettes.' And he resists the charms of the South, saying he is not even prepared to travel as far south of Berlin as Frankfurt, where 'Arthur Schnitzler's beautiful wife' had invited him to a symposium with Carl Schmitt, Jünger and Max Beckmann's son. He had too little money, Benn wrote, and above all he was 'no salon matador,' being 'quiet most of the time, agreeing with everyone.' One could call Benn's methods with Jünger a stylisation of defence."


Die Welt, 05.04.2006


Paul Badde entered a "magic tunnel in the history of art – and literature" when he saw the paintings by Sicilian artist Antonello da Messina at the Scuderie del Quirinal in Rome. "What comes to meet us from the depths of history here in the two darkened floors is nothing other than our own time: a horizon going up to the sky. Jesus at the whipping post with tear-stained eyes, again and again, always with a rope around his neck like a beast of burden, each time with shocking realism. Look, what a man! Or the distorted, bizarrely twisted bodies of thieves tortured on the cross. Between them, rising up to the skies, the son of man, under them a landscape strewn with gnawed bones."


Berliner Zeitung, 05.04.2006

Arno Widmann visited the China exhibition in Berlin's Haus der Kulturen der Welt where he went to a reading by Gao Xingjian and re-watched "Red Sorghum" by Zhang Yimou which won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale in 1988. "If you watch the film again today you will be surprised. Not only by China, which has changed so much that it would be virtually impossible to produce another such film about the resistance to the Japanese now, but also by the West. It's unbelievable that a film with such black and white morals, with such a clear friend/enemy division could win that sort of prize. You sit there in the dark, trying to fathom what in 1988 was so impressive about this ode to the great war of the fatherland against Japanese occupation. In fact it was the farewell to the traditional heroism of romantic socialist realism. There are no whitewashed politically correct role models in 'Red Sorghum', only drinking, whoring men. It was this irruption of reality into socialist morality that gave this film its power. Back then."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 05.04.2006

What is the Goethe Institut up to?" asks Thomas Steinfeld, in a report on the institution's new change of tack. Cultural work abroad is now being relocated to the Middle East and Asia, because Europe is apparently growing together "on its own steam". Steinfeld believes this is a gross misunderstanding. "Europe will not be freed from the post-war legacy simply because the auditors at the Goethe Institute want it that way. In fact, an even half-way united Europe seems to be both politically and culturally much further away now than it was in the nineties.... It is more than impudent to declare European territory as culturally secure, it is wilfully stupid."

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Saturday 6 - Friday 12 November, 2010

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Saturday 30 October - Friday 5 November, 2010

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Saturday 23 - Friday 29 October, 2010

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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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