?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

04/10/2006

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.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 04.10.2006

Human rights activist and Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whose autobiography, "Mein Leben, meine Freiheit" (My life, my freedom) has recently been published in Germany, gives an excellent interview on the "creeping imposition of Scharia," the biases of Tariq Ramadan and the reforms necessary in Islam. "The prophet is the source of everything. He described himself as 'God's messenger'. But he isn't on a level with God. He's fallible, basically a human proclaiming God's word. We should retain all the aspects of his teachings which are consistent with human rights, but leave the rest in it's historical context, the Arabic peninsula in the seventh century. The second step is the recognition that the Koran did not originate from God, but was written by humans 150 years after the death of Muhammed. There are lots of things in there that need to be overhauled. Humanity has changed beyond recognition since those times. And the third point is sexual doctrine. I'm talking about the dogma concerning virginity before marriage. If we manage to change that, women will be free."


Frankfurter Rundschau
04.10.2006

At the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair the Indian author Kiran Desai describes India as a country somewhere between the "early modern and globalisation (...) India is a nation which is notorious for having too much of everything and even more is being piled onto this mish-mash at an alarming pace: Computers and mobile phones, tiramisu and tacos, beauty competitions, aerobics, the return of Coca Cola, French cognac sniffers, Thai wine glasses, American tourists, obesity, anorexia, dyed blonde hair, tempting new ad slogans: 'Peter England, the honest shirt.' Peter England, the honest shirt??"


Berliner Zeitung
04.10.2006

Harald Jähner reports on yesterday's discussion about the cancellation of "Idomeneo" in the Deutsche Oper, which took place between interior minister Ehrhart Körting, culture senator Thomas Flierl and director Kirsten Harms. "She opts for the feminine form of de-escalation: does everything have to take the form of a fight?, she cries. If so, there's always going to be winners and losers. She doesn't say what the problem with that is... Körting and Flierl say as little as possible about their own responsibility, and do that with pursed lips. But you can see how bothered they are. The gathering on the podium, chosen to represent society at large, is well aware of the value of freedom, despite all the differences in understanding. Quite apart from the question of guilt, everyone here knows that the decision to cancel the piece was wrong."

In an interview with Arno Widmann, Nobel Prize winner V.S. Naipaul talks nice and nasty as ever about Indian literature. "India is finding its feet. Slowly. But it might not become a really important literary country. It's too dependent on the rest of the world, on how they view its literary production. Books are being written for the international market and foreign critics. And the authors read the most diverse styles and think they can copy them. They think they can be Latin America, Günter Grass or James Joyce. Where is their own perspective, their own sensibility? This isn't only the case with Indian authors. There are the Chinese authors that write about the horrors of the cultural revolution; they've all taken 'creative writing' courses in the USA and write identically."


Die Tageszeitung 04.10.2006

Matthias Greffath suggests that interior minister Wolfgang Schäuble invite the bishops of both churches as well as the Pope to a gala performance of "Idomeneo". In the final analysis, it's not about artistic freedom or Muslims. "It's about the huge problems left behind by the Enlightenment. The removal of divine heads was just the first part of the project and it's left behind a huge hole in the human soul. The belief in immortality (the soul) was not the underpinning of Western civilisation alone. Where it pales, the empty feeling surfaces that there's nothing more than the here and now. 'When death puts an end to all,' wrote George Orwell in 1944, referring to the world wars, the Gulag and the concentration camps, 'it will be harder to believe that one can be right when one has been defeated. Statesmen, nations, theories and actions will be judged almost automatically according to their degree of material success.' What counts is the present. The people, when freed from serving and sacrificing themselves for false Gods, give themselves up to hedonism, according to the motto 'What has posterity done for me?'"

Dirk Knipphals is conciliatory about this year's winner of the Deutscher Buchpreis (German book prize), announced on Monday. "Whether Katharina Hacker's 'Habenichtse' (The Have-Nots) really is the best German language novel of the year is up for debate. What's good is that a talented author has been identified who serves to prove that the prize, which was established for marketing reasons, won't sink literary standards. Popularisation without ingratiation - what can be said against that? All the more sympathetic that Hacker openly admits that the prize will help her live off writing. After all, that's what it's there to do: subsidise the right authors and give their careers a little push."

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Saturday 23 - Friday 29 October, 2010

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Saturday 16 - Friday 22 October, 2010

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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

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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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