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

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23/05/2006

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.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 23.05.2006

The Literaturmuseum der Moderne (modern literature museum) will open at the German Literature Archive in Marbach on June 6. Starting today, the FAZ will publish a series of texts by authors about exhibits in the museum. Poet Hans Magnus Enzensberger starts things off with a sad piece on the forgotten poet Iwan Heilbut, whose poem "Welt und Wanderer" (world and wanderer) is on display. Enzensberger tells of Heilbut's literary debuts in the Weimar Republic, his emigration to France and the USA and his return to a strange country, concluding: "His writings will no doubt never be printed again. Possibly no one will even write a dissertation about him, and no novelist will base a novel on his life. The history of literature is forgetful, and ultimately this may be the end of him. Humanity cannot and does not want to bear everything in mind. Yet when you know who wrote it, you see the sheet of paper in the display case through other eyes."
See our feature "The radical loser" by Hans Magnus Enzensberger.


Die Tageszeitung, 23.05.2006

Christian Broecking presents New York pianist Vijay Iyer, whose work blends jazz, politics and philosophy. "Iyer lives in Manhattan's Morningside Heights neighbourhood. His daughter is just two, and his wife works as a computer scientist around the corner at Columbia University. Iyer was born in New York State in 1970, and studied physics and philosophy at Yale. In his dissertation, which can be found on the Internet, he investigated the interaction between body posture and musical language. He's just as interested in a musician's corporal vocabulary as in the ideas that make him tick. Iyer gives a musical interpretation of this interplay in his piece 'Accumulated Gestures' on the first Fieldwork CD 'Your Life Flashes' (Pi Recordings). Alongside his reflections on corporal predispositions, Iyer also experiments with rhythmic structures. It's 'like becoming Monk's hands' when he plays Thelonious Monk's compositions, he says." Iyer put out his most recent CD, "In What Language?" (video), together with with hip-hop producer and poet Mick Ladd. His European premiere will be at the Kontrakom Festival in Salzburg.


Frankfurter Rundschau, 23.05.2006

Ina Hartwig takes a look at youth violence and sees, since the fall of the Berlin Wall, a trend towards a "carnival-like tribalisation of society," in which each "tribe" follows its own code. "Characteristic of this tribalisation is that the 'skinheads' and the 'lefties', although they represent opposite ends of the political spectrum, are both after the same kind of intoxication: to force the opponent into subordination and get high on his denigration, his pain." Hartwig's conclusion: "Politicians have to gird themselves against the contemporary aesthetic of youth horror. It's time to stop thinking about 'Leitkultur' (defining culture) and to start looking at ostracism."


Henrik Ibsen, a hundred years later


On the hundredth anniversary of the death of Henrik Ibsen, the Director of Berlin's Schaubühne Thomas Ostermeier explains to Matthias Heine and Reinhard Wengierek in Die Welt that little of interest has happened in the world of theatre since Ibsen and Strindberg. "Our in-house poet Marius von Mayenberg totally rejects Ibsen. He says that Strindberg is a thousand times more abysmal, angrier, nastier, surrendered himself far more to life, was closer to insanity, unlike the ordered, closed Ibsen. His beard alone is like a shell. His wife climbed mountains and swam in lakes, Ibsen walked a maximum of 20 metres and never took off his gown. Ibsen was totally jammed shut. With 'Dance of Death,' Strindberg anticipated theatre of the absurd and Beckett. (Theatre critic Georg) Hensel is still right. In all the realistic writing, all that Anglo Saxon stuff, nothing has happened. Even Brecht didn't go much further."

In the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse talks to Christopher Schmidt about similarities and differences with his compatriot and colleague Henrik Ibsen. While Ibsen wrote in Bokmal Norwegian, the language of newspapers and business, Fosse remains faithful to Nynorsk Norwegian (more here). "Most people switch at some point to Bokmal, but for theatre, Nynorsk is a real gift. It has an incredible stage-like quality because it's neither dialect nor sociolect, it has a certain abstractness and there's an enormous power to this artificiality. For me the language makes all the difference, it has to do with the beauty of the landscape and the people that I write about."

Theatre director Stephan Kimmig (bio in German), whose productions include Ibsen's "Nora" and "Hedda Gabler" at Thalia Theater in Hamburg, writes in the Frankfurter Rundschau about fear in Ibsen's works. "We life in extremely precarious times, today fear has become the determining factor. The phenomenon of fear can be wonderfully studied in Ibsen's works. His long, brilliant dialogues let us look inside figures who are gripped by fear. We learn much about the origin and extent of their fears, but there's always something that eludes us. These people are gutsy fighters, madly searching for a way out. They won't let themselves be put off or thrust aside. Often these fear-ridden figures, who are also knights in the struggle against fear, have to pay for their efforts with their own lives."




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