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06/10/2006

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.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 06.10.2006

Wilhelm Droste takes a second look at the speech by the Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany. He, together with many Hungarian intellectuals, sees it as an impassioned call for a joint effort. "He curses openly out of respect for what has to be accomplished. When he speaks of 'kurva orszag,' for example, he doesn't mean that Hungary is a country of whores, even if that's what the direct translation would suggest. He swears in order to drive away curses. If you want to understand him, you have to consider the context. In his words, which have become a scandal, there lies the chance of an honest new beginning, were there to be a willingness to listen seriously. But Hungary in October 2006 is not looking to understand, but rather to celebrate its dividedness. Everyone is appalled and waiting for the opportunity to be more appalled. Thus, Hungarian is being reduced to a language of smug monologues. Peter Nadas will not be able to rescue it on his own."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
06.10.2006

Ralf Hertel reaches the conclusion at the Berlin conference "Global Ibsen" that Nora (from "A Doll's House") still possesses the potential to disturb. "The excitement is not just historically but also culturally determined. That's the conclusion of Errol Durbach (from British Columbia): students of Indian background see in Nora a strong woman who finally stands up to machos. My Chinese students, on the other hand, can never forgive her for buying individual happiness at the expense of her family.' For Mitsuya Mori (Tokyo), Ibsen's play puts Japanese culture in its entirety to the test."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
06.10.2006

Two weeks before he was to receive the Büchner Prize, the poet Oskar Pastior has died. Michael Lentz recalls a reading in 1992, when he met Pastior for the first time. "But what do I mean by reading? Pastior re-discovers reading, starting with the first syllable, just as he re-discovers poetry. Every sound is plastic. Someone articulates himself with previously unknown concentration. The audience is astounded – and seriously exhilarated. Not understanding something has never before and will never again be such a liberating experience." (see our feature on Pastior here)


Die Welt 06.10.2006

The American author James Ellroy tells Rüdiger Sturm why he never had any qualms about putting his novel, "The Black Dahlia" in the hands of the film industry ("I got good money for it") and explains why he's proud to be an American, but lives in a vacuum. "I never watch films and hardly ever read books or newspapers. I get the information I need from my friends and from the L.A Police Department. I don't own a TV. I occasionally go over to friends to watch a boxing match or watch a film on my own. They put the box at my disposal and I bring the pizza. That's it."


Der Tageszeitung 06.10.2006

Whilst milling around the Frankfurt Book Fair Dirk Knipphals asks himself "whether the good old business of literature didn't secretly kick the bucket a long while ago. Naturally all the components are still there – the authors, the critics, the publishing houses, the books – but it lacks a focus to generate a natural hierachy. No one bothers to go to the critic's Wednesday meeting at the Suhrkamp publishing house, but not because it's the bosom of German literature but because it's simply a Suhrkamp reception. That's still worth something but it's no longer the cradle of Suhrkamp culture or literature itself. It's been replaced by a complex tribal culture of different beliefs about what literature is."


Frankfurter Rundschau 06.10.2006

Elke Buhr admires the devoted perfectionist, Rebecca Horn, "the first lady of the German art scene" and her very personal retrospective. Horn has attended to every last detail and adorned the Martin Gropius Bau atrium with a new 18 metre-high light and sound installation. Buhr says that the artist is ecstatic about the exhibition and believes it helps hush the controversy over her body landscapes. "Her experiments with the body were considered virtually pornographic, particulary as they were made by a woman. Luckily people view her work differently now but it's another good reason to show the works in context."

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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

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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

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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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