?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

10/05/2006

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.

Die Tageszeitung, 10.05.2006

"It's as if one of the steles from the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe had run across the street, gone into the woods on the other side and said: look, I'm part of the whole story, but I'm also something else. I'm gay." That's how Michael Elmgreen describes the monument to the homosexual victims of national socialism which he co-designed, and which has now got the go-ahead to be built in Berlin's central Tiergarten park (more here). Jan Feddersen praises the project, but also criticises the fact that it makes no mention of the persecution of homosexuals in post-war Germany. No wonder, he says. "The party is now in power in both federal and state governments whose predecessors neither prevented nor sought to prevent legal discrimination against homosexuals in the early years of the Bundesrepublik. According to their way of thinking it was entirely normal."

Sven von Reden reviews "Schläfer" (sleeper), the film debut of 31-year-old director Benjamin Heisenberg. The film starts when doctoral student Johannes turns down an offer from an employee of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the German equivalent of the CIA, to spy on his Algerian fellow student Farid. "From that moment on, every glance the young biologist Johannes (Bastian Trost) takes at Farid (Mehdi Nebbou) is poisoned. Every detail, every action and gesture of the Algerian is filtered through a biased perception. Are Farid's friendliness, his humour, his love for a good drink, all just a facade? Why does he suddenly start speaking Arabic with a stranger when Johannes comes within earshot? Why are the windows of his apartment taped with silver paper? Heisenberg avoids letting the evidence become too clear, playing with the genre expectations created by Hollywood. But 'Schläfer' does not turn into a thriller... the conspiracy remains a theory, the parts cannot be made into a whole – and here Heisenberg shows he is a student of Jacques Rivette."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 10.05.2006


Today the controversial "Kurze Geschichte der Demokratie" ("Democracy in Europe") by Italian historian Luciano Canfora, published by the PapyRossa publishing house, will be appearing. As Johan Schloemann explains, the Beck publishing house refused to take the book, considering it absurd. Canfora presents certain theses, for example that the Soviet Union was an example of the "shortest way to social justice," that the liberal Western democracies caused the catastrophes of the 20th century and that the Hitler Stalin Pact was primarily intended to protect hysterically anti-communist Poland. It's not just the book that annoys Schloemann but also the nonsense that Confora has been spouting about censorship. "Anyone in this country can stand up and say such things and get them printed in the most influential publishing houses and magazines. One publisher takes it, another doesn't. And this (and here one can get a little haughty in the face of Canfora's unremitting bombardment of opinions) is the accomplishment of the free liberal constitutional state with democratic elections – the model which Luciano Canfora considers, alone as an idea, capable of doing little more than 'lulling and manipulating the masses.'" (here an essay on the Canfora's book by Adam Krzeminski)


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 10.05.2006

Karl-Peter Schwarz potrays the Czech director Miroslav Bambusek, who has re-created the massacre which took place in the city of Postoloprty (Postelberg) during the expulsion of the Germans. at the end of World War II. For Schwarz, the provocation of the Czechs lies less in the subject itself than in Bambusek's position on it. "He doesn't see the expulsion of the Germans as an isolated and inevitable result of the Nazi horror that preceded it, but rather as the first logical step on the way to a totalitarian dictatorship. He doesn't shield his audience in the reconstruction of the events. He brings buses full of spectators from Prague to the mass grave sites in Postoloprty, has eye witnesses speak and reads aloud the protocol of the parliamentary investigation commission, the cynicism of which could not have been topped. In the final discussion, to which historians are also invited, everyone shares their impressions."

A hundred years after the acquittal of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, Jürg Altwegg criticises the engagement of today's French intellectuals – Bernard-Henri Levy in particular – for the former Italian terrorist Cesare Battisti, who is absconding Italian justice in France. "The influential media and public intellectuals support Battisti, who has never publicly renounced his crimes, but rather idealised them in a very egotistical and literary way. The well researched book of a Figaro journalist ("Generation Battisti" by Guillaume Perrault) is being ignored, Italian justice and public opinion are being ridiculed in a way that recalls the most heinous and xenophobic insults of the 'Italian' Emile Zola by the French fascists."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 10.05.2006

Franz Haas is horrified at the state of Italian literary criticism, which has nothing but praise for novels about hot-blooded nymphs and old men. For example the work of one 63-year-old author telling the story of "13-year-old Gaida and the almost 63-year-old intellectual Bruno, and their salacious looks and sinful thoughts." According to Haas the author, writing under the pseudonym Paolo Doni, is a famous journalist in the milieu of the Corriere della Sera. Antonio D'Orrico, the critic at the Corriere, dedicates to "the pitiful 'Lolita' emulation and his (presumed) colleague the front page of the literary supplement and seven eulogistic pages with photos of young actresses who would be appropriate for a film version of the novel. Such unabashed favouring of your own clique is shameful, but the lack of courage shown by the other critics is just as embarrassing."

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