From the Feuilletons


From the Feuilletons

Süddeutsche Zeitung 05.06.2010

Christine Dössel sat through all 12 hours of Peter Stein's production of Dostoevsky's "The Demons" in Vienna.  Although not a fan of the director, she was won over. "You could criticise him for not wanting to say anything in particular but instead, as Beckett would say, 'only everything'. Stein has not tried to make grand statements or embark on feats of the imagination, he just takes us through the novel chapter for chapter, with a horde of Italian actors. And because the novel is so damn good and the majority of the actors are also excellent, that is enough to carry this epic literary reclamation." The play, which has an all-Italian cast and is spoken entirely in Italian, will tour Amsterdam, Naples, Ravenna, Athens and New York.

Spiegel Online

Marcel Reich-Ranicki, the influential Polish-born literary critic has been awarded the Börne medal for lifetime achievement. Spiegel Online documents the speech given by Henryk Broder at the award ceremony. Broder does not stop at praise, but asks the great man to speak out against the new anti-Israel movement in Gemany: "Still trembling at my own audacity, I have a question for you. You were in the Warsaw Ghetto... Does it not give you goosebumps when people compare conditions in Gaza with those in the Warsaw Ghetto? Are you not overtaken by fury and a desire to leave your home in German literature for a moment, and put your head outside into the streets which are not occupied by the friends of Heine and Höderlin strolling under linden trees, but with Hamas and Hezbollah supporters shouting "Zionists out of Palestine!"?

Süddeutsche Zeitung

A German book featuring photographs by Alberto Giuliani has incurred much wrath in Italy, Maike Albath reports. "Malacarne" contains Giuliani's photographs from the scenes of mafia crimes, which are intended as indictments, but the book also contain CDs of mafia songs: "The heroic songs contribute to an aesthetification of the mafia. The opulence of the boo,k with its crimson-coloured satellite images of Palermo and quotes from interrogation records left uncommented in outsize type, also seem to stem from a singular fascination."

Süddeutsche Zeitung

"Schumann is lost to the world of music," is the opening sentence of Reinhard Brembeck's excellent essay on the relevance of the composer on the 200th anniversary of his birth. Later Brembeck writes: "His banishment from paradise left Schumann with only a memory, and this constant longing for the idlyll found its way into so many of his compositions. But the solace of this much-trumpeted idyll is bitter, because its sounds formulate it only as an unreachable chimera."

Perlentaucher 09.06.2010

The idea of universal human rights has become ever more obsolete writes Caroline Fourest for Perlentaucher, and, ironically, Western liberals have been a key force in its dismantling. "At the United Nations, the states cite 'national circumstances' as grounds for making exceptions to the application of the universal declaration of human rights. In the name of anti-imperialism left-wing activists denigrate universalism as neo-colonialism."

Der Freitag 10.06.2010

Frank Fischer describes Pierre Assouline as the French Reich-Ranicki, although he really is something else: the first literary critic in the world to have risen to fame through a blog (albeit Le Monde-owned): "When he compares the literary talents of Churchill and de Gaulle, 1,200 readers' comments follow. When he writes about Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt and his work as translator, another 1,000 respond. And his polemic about Alan Robbe-Grillet's final and highly controversial novel elicits no less than 900 reactions."

Die Welt 10.06.2010

The paper prints Bernard-Henri Levy's article from Haaretz in which he calls for a halt to the demonisation of Israel: "The catchphrase being trotted out ad nauseum refers to the blockade imposed 'by Israel.' The most elementary honesty, however, requires one to make clear that this blockade has been undertaken by both Israel and Egypt, conjointly, along the borders of the two countries that share frontiers with Gaza, and with the thinly disguised blessing of all the moderate Arab regimes. Saying the blockade has been imposed by Israel alone can only be described as disinformation."

Die Zeit 10.06.2010

Whether or not it has a right to exist, Israel bears the greatest responsibility for peace in the Middle East, Daniel Barenboim says in an interview. Because it is stronger than the Palestinians: "If I am a Jew in the Warsaw Ghetto, and I have an old crust of bread which is completely inedible, and an SS officer walks by and I throw the crust at his feet and say: 'This is good enough for you but not for me' - this is a fantastic act of resistance. But if I am an Israeli solder in the occupied West Bank with the same crust of bread in my hand, and a starving Palestinian walks by and I throw it in front of him, and say the same thing? It's just not acceptable."

Die Tageszeitung

Pawel Leszkowicz, curator of "Ars Homo Erotica" a large exhibition in the Warsaw Museum, talks about the Polish attitude to homosexuality, homo eroticism in antiquity and the hate mail he has recieved: "Much has changed in Poland in the last ten years. In 2000, when I and thirty gay and lesbian couples were photographed holding hands we were all, my partner and myself included, hit with a wave of hatred. We were genuinely scared. People hurled stones at the Good As You paraders. In Krakow, people even threw acid at them. But now, a decade later, things have changed. I do not intend the exhibition as a provocation. And I don't think that Polish society today will regard it as such."

Die Welt 11.06.2010

Tilman Krause welcomes the decision to award this year's Peace Prize of the German Book Trade to Israeli writer David Grossman. Grossman teaches us "that it is possible to be both peace activist and patriot, advocate of an Israeli-Palestinian compromise – and a Zionist at the same time." - let's talk european