From the Feuilletons


Süddeutsche Zeitung 07.03.2007

Johan Schloemann comments on the rather sensational news that the Bavarian State Library is to cooperate with Google Book Search. After the Spanish libraries, this is another major non-English library to join the project. "With his cultural war cries directed at Google, the director of Paris' Bibliotheque Nationale, Jean-Noël Jeanneney, is now isolated between Bavaria and Catalonia. Because where is the 'dangerous cultural homogenisation' by the Americans which the Frenchman evokes so blackly, when we can now download 19th century studies of Old German, rare books in Asian languages, and practically the entire copyright-free German literature from Munich, and old Cervantes editions from Madrid? In any case Paris, Rome, Warsaw, Copenhagen, Göttingen and Berlin are all blinking their eyes in astonishment at this bold step forwards by the staunchly traditional Bavaria."

Die Tageszeitung

"What does it say about a population that it chooses this novel as a cult book?" asks Marius Meller in an essay on the reception of Daniel Kehlmann's novel "Die Vermessung der Welt" (the measurement of the world - more here). "It would be fitting to call the book neo-bourgeois, and its brilliant success a symptom of the self-organisation and self-formation of a new bourgeois class, made up of people who prefer Peter Sloterdijk to Jürgen Habermas, Udo di Fabio to Joachim Fest, and Daniel Kehlmann to Botho Strauß. On top of that, belonging to a 'subculture' - a better term would be partial culture - is not only not out of the question, it's even a precondition for the new postmodern, neo-bourgeois indentity." The entire text appears in the current issue of Merkur magazine.

To read Ilija Trojanow's meditation on Europe is to be convinced of Turkey's rightful place in the EU. "The origins of European civilisation do not comply with today's borders. The hallowed cradle of antiquity would today belong neither geographically nor politically to Europe. Recent excavations underscore that the cultural impulses of classical Greece were sent primarily by city states which lay in a region that the Europeans soon called Asia Minor – which is as about as fitting as a baby calling its bellybutton 'little mother'."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 07.03.2007

China is a living paradox. That's why, writes Mark Siemons, all attempts to identify clear development trends are doomed to failure: "Despite the rapid pluralisation of the economy and other parts of society, there can be no talk of liberalisation. On the contrary: the 'monitoring', as the Party calls its control work in management speak, is becoming increasingly perfected and professionalised. Every step taken towards greater civil participation - and there are many being taken - is immediately countered by more state control. In recent years one could well have believed Marxism was no more than an embarrassing burden of the past, even to leading government cadres. But among the ruling elite it's experiencing a surprising renaissance."

Frankfurter Rundschau 07.03.2007

Christian Thomas reports on the growing public disapproval at plans by architect David Chipperfield for the James Simon Gallery on Berlin's Museum Island. "The accusation of 'barbarity' levelled at the British architect by Uwe Lehmann-Brauns, vice president of Berlin's House of Representatives, is certainly a delicate matter in view of the war damages encountered everywhere in Berlin. Lehmann-Brauns is part of an initiative for a referendum against Chipperfield's entrance building to the Museum Island that started up this week. Now other opponents of the prominent architect are also joining in. These people speak of an 'oversized aquarium' (Michael Braun, head of Berlin's CDU parliamentary faction), and demonstrate what a hard time representatives of puristic architectural modernity are having in Berlin." - let's talk european