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GoetheInstitute

02/10/2006

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, 2 October, 2006

Frankfurter Rundschau
02.10.2006

This was art fair weekend in Berlin, with the Art Forum and a handful of smaller alternative ones such as Preview. Star gallerist Gerd Harry Lybke declared sculpture as the new big thing and accordingly "left his Neo Rauchs at home," writes Elke Buhr. "It's still warm in the evenings and the culture surfing at the gallery openings circuit refuses to come to an end. People mill around in packs in Auguststraße (a street full of galleries in Berlin Mitte -ed.), a sprinkling of industrialists' wives mingling with the bottle-beer swilling local art crowd. It's all about being laid-back and Mediterranean while staging the myth: Berlin is cool, that's why we've all travelled here. Berlin the art city has long functioned like a self-fulfilling prophecy: the more everybody talks about it, the more real it becomes, because when everybody comes, everybody's there."


Der Tagesspiegel 02.10.2006

Jan Oberländer writes that for the second year running, the Lettre Ulysses Award for reportage has gone to a British woman writer. This year in Berlin Ryszard Kapuscinski handed over the prize to Linda Grant (more) for her reportage on young soldiers in Israel, "People on the street" (excerpt here). "Since its premiere in 2003, the 'Nobel prize for reportage literature' has gained in international renown. This is thanks to the high-ranking jury, the quality of the winning texts and the 100,000 dollar prize. Add to this the increasing cynicism of the reportage industry. As one reporter repeated in whispered tones something another correspondent had shouted out during the war in the Balkans: 'Is anybody here who has been raped and speaks English?'"


Saturday 30 September, 2006


Frankfurter Rundschau
30.09.2006

With India as the guest country at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair which starts on Wednesday, the Goethe Institute has organised a residency programme, where Indian writers visit Germany and and vice versa. Mahesh Dattani's decription of some of the cultural differences was published in the FR: "A young couple were busy smooching just a couple of rows ahead, facing my direction. Smooching in public is also an art to be perfected. The smoochers in Mumbai hide in the shadows in parks or by the beach away from the watchful eye of the policeman on duty. Here it is done in full public view, showing their love for each other while exploring tonsils."
(Read more of the German and India writers' impressions in English here.)


Süddeutsche Zeitung
30.09.2006

In an interview Nobel Literature Prize laureate V.S. Naipaul discusses his next book, the misery of revolution, the future of the small Indian farmers – and happiness. His interviewer Burkhard Müller tells him about two surveys: one concludes that the Danes are the happiest people in the world and the other says it is the Bangladeshis. Naipaul is more convinced by the latter: "They are not very ambitious, their sole concern is religion. As long as that is going well, they are happy. I think that's fair enough. When the water rises and their houses are destroyed by floods, they climb the trees, when the water level returns to normal, they climb down again and build up their little huts again. It is a drama for them, it dramatises their year. But they are content. I have never seen happier people... All sorts of effort is put into trying to make everyone happy, development projects, this and that. They don't want this. They want their religion, they want to pray five times a day. When they die, they want to go to paradise. We can't help them with paradise, but we must understand what they want."


Die Welt
30.09.2006

Saul Friedländer's examination of Nazi Germany and the Jews (Vol.2: The Years of Annihilation 1939-1945) in his work about the Holocaust is almost unusual again according to historian Dan Diner. Friedländer "focuses on the general hatred of Jews," which Diner says is no longer the norm. "Books about the Holocaust which have won the favour of readers over the past years and hit sales records strive to refrain from depicting the hatred of Jews as the main cause for the murder and destruction of European Jews. The fact that the murdered Jews were in fact Jews is often a minor fact or seen as a sort of secondary argument. This reasoning is well-liked because it reduces it to the material aspects, to robbery, plundering, greed and financial calculations. Everyone understands these sort of human evils, which are believed to stem from a negative anthropology. (...) Saul Friedländer's history of the Holocaust bucks the trend."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 30.09.2006

The cabaret artist Alfred Dorfer sneers at the political status quo in Austria as the country goes to the polls. "The election in Austria is over and on Sunday the ballot boxes are opened. Political apathy has reached chronic levels. The failure to give a damn is the obvious symptom. The reasons were written on the wall in capitals. With the talent of a group of amateur actors, the electorate has been eavesdropping on the silent speeches of aspiring politicians. The choice is greater than ever which confirms the suspicion that choice doesn't necessarily mean freedom."


Die Tageszeitung 30.09.2006

Nina Apin was listening in as Norbert Lammert, Adolf Muschg and Seyran Ates (see portrait "Stepping out of the fire") began to discuss the book "Patriotismus, Verfassung, Leitkultur" (Patriotism, constitution and the defining culture) and then went for the jugular: "As the debate veered towards a lesson in constitutional democracy, Muschg mentioned the cancellation of 'Idomeneo' and suggested that most Muslims would also protest against Jesus' head being severed. The audience reacted audibly. Seyran Ates hit back at this naive charge. 'There are Muslims who are more than ready to cut the head off other Gods,' she said, refering to the Buddha statues which were destroyed in Afghanistan and demanded that the 'intolerable tendency to be submissive' to radical Islam must be stopped."

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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

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.
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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

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.
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