Features » Magazine Roundup


Magazine Roundup

Il Sole 24 Ore 22.01.2012 (Italy)

The Sunday edition of Il Sole remains silent about the Costa Concordia, but does deal with the subject of death. Sicilian author Vincenzo Consolo has died. Salvatore Silvano Nigro bows before the last great Sicilian moralist and stylist of the 20th century. "In my office I have a picture that was taken 30 years ago of Giuseppe Leone. It takes up the whole wall. Vincenzo Consolo is in it. As are Leonardo Sciascia and Gesualdo Bufalino. They are laughing. It's contagious. They are bent over with laughter. They're standing shoulder to shoulder with tears in their eyes. Sciascia is in the middle, Consolo to one side. He's trying not to get toppled over by Sciascia, whose knees are buckling from laughing. Bufalino has his hands on his head and is holding onto his glasses. They are laughing so hilariously. This is how I want to remember them, all three, the three great masters of Sicilian literature of the past century."

Babelia 21.01.2012 (Spain)

Spanish philosopher Javier Goma Lanzon takes up the cudgels for vanity among authors: "Unlike in the natural sciences, there is no objective criteria that determines the value of a literary work. What the laboratory test is for science is for literature the judgement of others. The value of works of literature is decided by society alone through an uncontrollable and diffuse process of consensus building. For this reason we authors are so dependent on the opinions of others and beg shamelessly for applause, for the truth about our work only becomes apparent, also to ourselves, through this affirmation. By no means let anyone keep you from praising me, dear reader, especially not when I start to play modest. Praise me again and again, my life depends on it." 

Huffington Post 23.01.2012 (France)

The French edition of the American Huffington Post went online today. Its publisher is Anne Sinclair, wife of the former head of the IMF, Dominque Strauss-Kahn. In the opening edition, French historian Benjamin Stora writes about the legacy of the Arab Spring and the birth of a new society that is oriented around the individual. "In the protests, in the criticism voiced, but all also in the way people are living their lives, we are witnessing the birth of individualism. One particularly interesting new group of people are the 'harragas', young people from Maghreb who are determined to leave their country whatever the price. These young people all say the same thing: that they are not leaving as before, as 'ambassadors' in the name of their family, district or village. They are going in their own name."

Further articles: Guillaume Erner remembers the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, who died ten years ago.

Osteuropa 20.01.2012 (Germany)

The new Osteuropa magazine is dedicated to Hungary, which is threatening to turn its back on the West. Sociologist Balint Magyar describes how under Victor Orban, first the Fidesz Party and then the whole country landed in the populist trap - and is now floundering. "What national and social populism have in common is that they pass responsibility onto others. The nation 'which has not been spared by fate' and the man on the street who is exposed to fate unite to lament their bitter lot. Critical reflection of history and a rational approach to thinking about the future have been systematically banned from Hungary's political culture. They have been replaced by self-pity and the search for scapegoats: communists, bankers, oligarchs, liberals, Jews, gays, gypsies."

The writer Laszlo Darvasi tells the story of a country where strange things are afoot. The story begins: "The next morning strange developments were underway in the country. On the building site where the walls were growing upwards, on the steps of the ladders looming high, on the scaffolding and on the public buildings, loud speakers had been attached overnight. These loudspeakers, however rusty and worn out they looked, were buzzing clearly and intelligibly. They had been lying around in old sound archives…"

In further articles, Krisztina Koenen writes about the world as Victor Orban sees it, Esther Kinsky writes about the hinterland, Gabor Halmai on the new constitution, and Kornelia Magyar on the hardships of the Roma. 23.01.2012 (Slovakia in English)

Andrzej Stasiuk dreams of salvaging the old car factory where his father once worked. It was the factory which made the one and only car developed by Poland, a car called "Pobeda" or "Victory". Stasiuk remembers going with his mother to fetch his father from work, meeting him at the factory gates: "I'd look up and see his dark figure against the sun. I was six years old, yet I still remember the mixture of smells: sweat, exhaustion, beer, dark tobacco and the factory smell of red-hot metal, grease, petrol and air ionized by the electric arc of welding machines. That's what the men's world smelled of. "

From the Anglophone Press

The New York Times Sunday Magazine profiles the Egyptian Muslim Brother Mohamed Beltagy, who is championed by many liberals but suspicious to the Brotherhood's old guard.  It also describes the impact on an average American of the move of Apple production from California to China. Newsweek explains why critics on both sides of the political spectrum are wrong about Obama. The Los Angeles Review of Books reports on a year of living in Detroit with its rich periphery and inner racial hierarchies. In the London Review of Books Slavoj Zizek outlines why political protest is the last resort of a privileged middle class facing a future of downward mobility. And Outlook India deplores the Islamic protests against Salman Rushdie's planned appearance at the Jaipur Literature Festival. - let's talk european