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

01/04/2005

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 Rundschau, 01.04.2005

Elke Buhr is unsettled about what she has pinpointed as a new trend in art and pop music: Germanness sells. First it was the Leipzig School painters and now it's the Florian Süssmayr exhibition in Munich's Haus der Kunst. Buhr stood before a "painting of a beer mat, a full square meter in size, complete with ten pen marks indicating that ten beers were consumed, the typical men's room penis scribble, SS initials and a swastika". For Buhr, art like this uses 'unique selling propositions' common to the world of marketing to sell 'Germanness' on a hard-fought international market. Now that all styles and artistic positions are available around the globe, buyers are hungry for difference, exoticness. For Californian collectors dark, threatening Germanic-ness obviously still has substantial 'foreignness' potential. But, Buhr warns: "If the meaning of these signs – swastikas!- are ignored, real right-wing bands and organisations will revive them politically".
The exhibition in the Haus der Kunst runs until May 1.


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 01.04.2005


Johannes Willms reports on French fears surrounding the upcoming referendum on the European constitution to be held May 29. Recent polls show 55 percent of French voters are against the constitution. For Willms, the negative trend results because all parties criticise the constitution for different reasons. The only thing uniting them is a will to prevent Turkey from becoming a full member. "Around 70 percent of French farmers reject the constitution, fearing for the 9 billion euros shovelled out year for year to 650,000 farmers. Civil servants and employees of state-run enterprises, of which France has the most worldwide, are afraid for their privileged situation." The artistic and cultural communities, for their part, are concerned for France's special "cultural exception" status which exludes French cinema and audiovisual industries from free trade agreements. "Then there is the large coalition of Gaullists and neo-Jacobins, who are afraid that France's political clout will be considerably damaged by a Europe where impotent slackers have the say, and that faceless bureaucrats in Brussels will pale the shining colours of the French flag with their lacklustre and uninspired policies."

Daniel Gerlach interviews Israeli historian Tom Segev, whose book "One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate" has just appeared in German. Asked whether Israeli policy is comparable to British policy during the Mandate, he answers: "Until a few years ago you could say that the British oppression of the Palestinians was much worse than that of the Israelis. But we learned a lot from the British: destroying houses, detention, exiling people from one village to another. Even the laws the occupation is based on." To the question whether the evacuation of settlements on the Gaza Strip will bring new hope, he replies: "We evacuate a few settlements, and then start talking with the Palestinians again. The insanity of recent years is being somewhat reduced. But it is a small step."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 01.04.2005

The once so glamourous German foreign minister Joschka Fischer is getting backed into one corner after the next: first the Ukrainian visa affair, now protest from diplomats. Fischer intends to prohibit obituaries of diplomats being published in the internal foreign ministry newspaper. Originally this decision was meant to apply only for former members of the NSDAP, or Nazi party. Patrick Bahners disapproves of Fischer's stance: "Nothing good can be said about the generation who founded the German Federal Republic: this is the logic of patricide that obituaries in Fischer's ministry will conform to in future. Fischer cannot be called a tragic figure. A more differentiated obituary practice would certainly be possible without injuring the dictates of natural piety. But he prohibits this, simply because he imagines that all his predecessors were blind in the right eye. At least Oedipus knew that he blinded himself in both."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 01.04.2005


In the European Cultural Horizon series, Swiss philosopher Iso Camartin writes about Euripides' tragedy "Heracles". After slaughtering his wife and children in a wild frenzy, the hero comes to the conclusion that the gods do not exist. He cries: '"Egkartereso bioton – I will wage my life!" The word 'egkartereo' means something like: persevere, do not waver, accept things with self-control! To utter these words expresses a desire to determine one's own life, in spite of all the risks and pain, the guilt and suffering which life inevitably brings with it. The consequences for one's actions cannot be pushed onto the gods or any other beings. Euripides' insight was a powerful early flash of something that only much later became known as the freedom of mankind and the responsibility of the individual. It uniquely pierces the very core of the human psyche."

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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

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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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