From the Feuilletons


From the Feuilletons

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 18.09.2010

In an interview with Felicitas von Lovenberg, Nobel laureate Herta Müller talks about her initial response to the news that the late poet Oskar Pastior, whose 5 years in a Gulag she described in her last novel "Everything I Own I Carry With Me" (excerpt), was a Securitate informant in the 1960s: "His file paints a sinister picture of Romania in the '50s and '60s. The prisons were full. On returning home from the gulag, Pastior the crate nailer and builder, could begin university in Bucharest at long last. Exhausted but obstinate as ever, he just wanted a return to normality and to take control of his own life again. But it was to be confiscated from him one more time. His file shows them closing in on him from all sides.... Freed from the camp he was suddenly fair game for everyone. My second reaction to the news was sympathy. And the longer I turn the details over in my head, the more this has turned to grief."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 18.09.2010

Thomas David talks to Flemish theatre director Luk Perceval the artistic director at Hamburg's Thalia theatre, about his directorial interests: "I believe that my plays often show a state of depression – veiled depression. This is as prevalent in 'Othello' and 'Death of a Salesman', as in 'L. King of Pain', the version of 'King Lear' which I showed two years ago, in Zurich and elsewhere. In this case depression led to dementia. What interests me is the desperate struggle with desire; a struggle from which we never seem to be able to free ourselves."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 21.09.2010

The Seattle-based cartoonist Molly Norris rose to fame with her drawings of Mohammed and her "South-Park" inspired "Everybody draw Mohammed" Facebook page. " Having received a number of death threats from the al-Qaeda Imam Anwar al-Awlaqi, Matthias Rüb reports, she has now disappeared into hiding: "The woman who goes by this name has ceased to exist. Otherwise she faced certain death... Molly Norris will now be spoken of in the same breath as Theo van Gogh, Lars Vilks and Kurt Westergaard, better still, shouted from the rooftops. Except that there is no woman who can still go by this name, for fear of her life."

full poster here

Berliner Zeitung

Peter Uehling pens a critical but not loveless article on Pierre Boulez, who featured prominently in person, in his role as conductor and with his own compositions, at the Berlin Festspiele. Uehling tends to find Boulez' crescendo-free "Germanic structural thinking" and "North-Korean adherence to progress" rather dull. But this seems to be mellowing with age: "In 'Derive 2' for 11 instruments, at least under Barenboim, there is a passage towards the end of the hour-long version from 2006, in which the relentless permutations of the arabesque give way for a moment to the solo singing of individual instruments, among them the horn which in 'Pli selon pli' accompanies the words of death. Boulez always breaks off these moments, almost in an act of self-censorship as if to prevent the music becoming too overbearing. For all its schizophrenia, there is something moving about this passage, as if in old age a personal touch had dared to raise its head."

Frankfurter Rundschau 23.09.2010

How on earth did Unesco come up with the idea of staging World Philosophy Day in Tehran of all places? The Iranian-Canadian philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo, who is not exactly enamoured of the idea, reports, for example, that the Iranian regime has declared a "soft war" against Western philosophy, which it blames for the "loss of belief". "To read and discuss philosophical texts in Tehran goes beyond mere pleasure or edification, it is always a political gesture. A gesture of resistance, as long as the philosophising is not merely serving the interests of the theocratic regime – as Unesco seems willing to condone it. Resistance against the restrictions of dogma and undemocratic thinking, against thinking which has long ceased to be a search for the truth."

Süddeutsche Zeitung

The Chinese reporter and author of "The Corpse Walker" Liao Yiwu has been allowed to leave China for the first time to attend the literature festivals in Berlin and Hamburg. Alex Rühle met up with him in a pub in Hamburg: "After trying his coffee, he pulled a bottle of Chinese schnapps from his rucksack, 'It's probably not allowed in here, is it?" He hides it away again, adding: "The most important tool of the job. I don't need paper, my memory is well trained from being in prison, but I do need schnapps. When people fall silent in grief, I give them a few glasses of this stuff to get them going again." - let's talk european