On the Death of Siegfried Lenz ? ?You have to justify your life?

Siegfried Lenz, one of the great writers of German post-war literature is dead. He died on 7 October 2014, surrounded by his family. He was 88 years old.... more more

GoetheInstitute

22/05/2006

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.

Monday 22 May, 2006

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 22.05.2006

The book "Al-Qaida. Texte des Terrors," compiled by a group of researchers around French Islamic scholar Gilles Kepel, presents translations of Internet texts attributed to bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abdullah Azzam and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Kepel explains in an interview, "Much of Al Qaida's ideology is occupied with explaining to its followers that nothing is more important than the armed Jihad, and that with its help, Al-Qaida will not only destroy the Western world, but also seize power in Islamic countries and topple governments that 'have drifted away from Islam.' These texts show that Al-Qaida is aiming to push through its own understanding of religion, which is markedly different from other Islamic currents." In this way the Al-Qaida ideologues are attempting, Kepel continues, "to acquire hegemony over other currents in the Islamic world."


Die Welt, 22.05.2006


Tilman Krause draws attention to the international PEN congress which opens today, and expresses one wish. "It's not yet clear whether PEN is going to put Poland on the agenda. But in this country, which is currently living under a nationalistic, fundamentalist, Catholic government, freedom of expression is already being seriously threatened and authors from minority groups are being curtailed. Gay and Jewish authors feel massively pressured and threatened by the aggressive barrages of government supported Radio Maria. One hopes very much that these developments will be duly denounced and not swept under the carpet in order to preserve a false atmosphere of festivity."


Die Tageszeitung, 22.05.2006


The real problem with integration is not between Turks and Germans, writes Zafer Senocak, but between Islamicists and the state. He suggests that more attention be paid to the culture wars in Turkey itself. "The strict division between religion and the state, between public space and the private sphere, the banishment of religion to the latter, has not really enlightened Turkey but rather created a schizophrenic society. There is no effective protection of the state from Islam. Can a Muslim claim that the Koran is not his guide in life? A Turkish politician cannot avow himself publicly to the Koran without being seen to be threatening the secular order of Turkey. But does that make Turkish politicians non-Muslims?" (see two features by Senocak here and here)


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 22.05.2006

The Berlin Theatertreffen, which ended yesterday, is an annual festival of critic's favourites from the German-language theatre season. Peter Laudenbach summarises this year's crop of plays and is glad to report that documentary theatre, once taken for dead, seems to be experiencing a comeback. "Just as documentary film has been the subject of increasing fascination in the last few years, theatre directors are also trying with various techniques to do studies of reality that are something more than empty simulations. Falk Richter builds interviews with financial consultants into his plays on the paranoid worlds of anti-capitalists, Hans-Werner Kroesinger creates clever, dry theatre installations on the Treuhand, Arabic suicide bombers or the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Feridun Zaimoglu collages together interviews with radical young Muslim women."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 22.05.2006

Eleonore Büning came out less than happy from Handel's "Orlando" in Munich, the penultimate premiere under current Bayerische Staatsoper artistic director Sir Peter Jonas. "Baroque opera in Munich has been securely in British hands for years. Under director Ivor Bolton, the Bayerische Staatsoper has developed a very individual style of historical performance practise, with dance-like movements and a thinned-out sound almost free of vibrato or legato. But at the 'Orlando' premiere, the orchestra was flat and colourless. The sound dynamic was inflexible and practically undifferentiated, while the singing was at times shaky in the extreme."


Saturday 20 May, 2006

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 20.05.2006

"In my imagination, she will go on being an Islamic Don Quixote." Moroccan-born Dutch author Abdelkader Benali regrets the departure of Ayaan Hirsi Ali from the Netherlands (more here), even if he often found her way of seeing things "grotesque". But "it is also liberating for us to be faced in this way with the collapse of the Dutch model. Everyone will have to build up for themselves a new system from the heap of rubble, one that will be critical of political institutions and based rather on individual self-will. The welfare state cannot offer individuals the protection they need. Hirsi Ali's obstinate, outspoken contribution to the multicultural debate has made it clear that people who act on their own steam and going on their own ideas go farthest – even if they sometimes have a bit of help. This talent will serve her well in the United States, even if her critique of religion will not make her a lot of friends."


Die Welt, 20.05.2006

The Iranian author Faraj Sarkohi expresses a general sense of helplessness with respect to his government's atomic program. Neither negotiations nor economic or military sanctions seem to promise success. "A religious government which is committed to values that are thousands of years old and which seeks to Islamicise the world and liberate bayt al-muqqadas (Jerusalem) is, when it is in possession of modern weapons, something like a Sphinx that emerges from the depths of history onto the very busy German autobahn and demands the answer to her riddle. The international community and the Iranians, who are hoping for peace and democracy, have not yet found the answer to this modern Sphinx's riddle."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 20.05.2006

Aids hospitals, clinics for drug addicts, the unemployed, beggars: it's astonishing enough that the 590 documentary photographs in the exhibition "Humanism in China, A contemporary record of photography" are now being shown in Frankfurt's Museum für Moderne Kunst, writes Andreas Platthaus. But "the presentation is doubly noteworthy because there has been no German post-curating. For this reason Museum director Udo Kittelmann speaks of an 'exhibition document': the photos are shown as they were in the three Chinese museums and in the original catalogue. The goal is to simulate a specific exhibition experience for an entirely different audience. This is a bold move, but also an interesting one. The only thing preventing an exact replica of the original arrangement is the layout of the MMK, which is just a fraction smaller than the original locations. Otherwise what we are seeing is exactly what visitors saw in China."

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