Features » Magazine Roundup


Magazine Roundup

Il Sole 24 Ore  08.01.2012 (Italy)

The Italian publishers Bompiani have announced the launch of a 2.0 version of "The Name of the Rose" for the end of January. Mario Andreose explains the importance ascribed by Umberto Eco to the translation and the translator, and imagines the book of the future as a sort of author-translator wiki. "It was Eco who began giving his translators a dossier of instructions, suggesting other literature for the historical, cultural and linguistic background, providing biographical information, quotes and phrasing suggestions, possible variations, alternative terms, naturally always taking into consideration the fact that every literary tradition has its own very particular solutions. This led to a conversation that continued right up to publication in which the translators would offer their criticism of the text to Eco after first discussing it among themselves. Since the first publication of the 'Rose' its translators have formed a community, meeting regularly in person. I can easily imagine that the thoughts of the translators will one day become a new layer to the book. And I can imagine this not only happening with 'Name of the Rose'."

Rue89  08.01.2012 (France)

Claude Mary writes a fascinating and comprehensive background article about the "Tango Wars" in Buenos Aires. The city now has a thriving alternative tango movement which brings tango into the bars and onto the streets, but which is being curtailed wherever possible in order to maintain an official image of tango and channel tourists into artificial and overpriced tango palaces. A similar thing is happening with the city's huge tango festival. "During his opening speech for the festival in August 2010 the mayor of Buenos Aires actually described tango as "our urban soya", in other words, a random and highly profitable product. The official festival attracts 400,000 visitors, many of them from abroad, and profits run into the millions of pesos. The city describes tango as the "key strategic cultural axis". But over the years the festival has been increasingly centralised in faceless exhibition centres, whereas the city itself has countless ballrooms which are much more accessible for visitors and locals."

Elet es Irodalom  06.01.2012 (Hungary)

In recent months Hungary's literary magazines have been debating the past, present and possible future of political poetry. Most Hungarian authors have moved away from political themes in recent decades but the critic Sandor Bazsanyi sees a relevance yet for the political poem: "In my opinion, the political poem should address the "here and now" of any particular situation to the immediate community, and this means it should use the most direct means, in other words calling a spade a spade with as much precision as possible, passionately even. [...] Hungarian political poetry today should be packed with imagery, but not cosmological, direct but not propagandist, substantial but not ideological, and above all, passionate but not blinkered."

Merkur  05.01.2012 (Germany)

The celebrated Russian author Mikhail Shishkin, who now lives in Switzerland, writes about the joyous and distressing experience of border crossing. He, for example, has always found himself getting closer to Russia the further he leaves it behind. "I work as an interpreter for refugees from countries of the former Soviet Union when they are questioned by the immigration authorities. None of them had stories which were not awful in some way. I had left my country for Switzerland and found myself in the epicentre of Russian pain." (Read our feature "Head versus Hand" - an interview with Mikhail Shishkin about his novel "Venushaar", which starts as a dialogue between an asylum seeker and in immigration officer.

The only way to stop Europe falling apart is for Germany to assume hegemony, according to the jurist Christoph Schönberger, but this time, with a little more prudence please: "Hegemony in the EU is essentially demanding of both German elite and German public something that Germany's central position in Europe has always demanded of them: that they forgo national introversion; that they closely know, observe and influence their European neighbours; that they define their own interests by including the interests of their partners; that they think ahead for Europe and with Europe as a whole in mind."

Die Welt 09.01.2012 (Germany)

Sensing revolution in the air, director Andrea Breth has staged Isaak Babel's revolutionary "Maria" in Dusseldorf, to much critical acclaim. For Ulrich Weinzierl: "The noteworthy and fascinating thing about Babel's revolutionary drama 'Marija', that he published in 1935, and which the Stalinist authorities immediately banned from the stage, is that this filmic stream of pictures from 1920s Petrograd already contains it all: inside the collapse of the old – according to the Russian nesting doll principle – is the terror of the new in all its endless variations. Showing this compellingly with the minimum of means is not the least of Andrea Breth's achievements at the Schauspielhaus Dusseldorf. She has added nothing and left the story absolutely in its original context."

Poetry Foundation  10.01.2012 (USA)

"We are all waiting for refugees", writes Eliza Griswold (website) from Lampedusa in a piece of reportage that shies away from neither from poetry nor facts. "The Africans arriving from Libya aren't Libyans. They're citizens of Chad, Sudan, Somalia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, among other nations. Many are refugees who fled to Libya from their home countries. For years they've been trying to outrun Muammar el-Qaddafi, who, in turn, has been blocking their passage to Europe. Along with Libyan oil, Qaddafi's horrific immigration prisons guaranteed him friends in Europe."

News from the Anglophone press:

According to the Economist, Luther's popularity had not only pamphleting to thank, but also 16th century social networks and songs. South Korean poet Kim Hyseoon talks to Guernica about feminism, the grotesque and the voice of the outsider. Boston Review interviews Michael Nielsen, author of "Reinventing Discovery" (excerpt) about scientific discovery in the networked era. Christopher Hitchens' last article in Vanity Fair was an homage to Dickens which drops a Dostoyevsky or two. The New Yorker describes Youtube's ascent into TV business. - let's talk european