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Im Schlossgarten  









August Macke, Im Schlossgarten von Oberhofen (1914), from the "Gurlitt: Status Report" exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Bern


                  What's New
"Physical reminders of the crimes of Hitler and the Nazis confront Germans every day, and while a small minority may not like this, they have no choice but to put up with it. When it comes to accepting the sins of the past, there is, in the end, no alternative for Germany."  (Foreign Affairs, Jan/Feb 2018) A closer look at the history of German film dubbing: "It's a story of control, denial, a commitment to craft and the discovery of a German funny bone."  (PRI, 10/11/17) Four years after their rediscovery, works from the Gurlitt art trove are at last on display in Bern and Bonn—but questions of provenance remain.  (The New York Times, 11/1/17; artnet, 11/3/17; The New York Times, 11/19/17)


                  The Protestant Reformation Turns 500
"Luther lived in that historical sweet spot between the invention of the printing press and the invention of the telegraph, when communication was not too fast nor quite too slow."  (The Washington Post, 10/26/17) "Reconciling the confusing, often paradoxical origins of Protestantism in Luther and his successors seems like a good project for a half-millennium retrospective." (The Nation, 7/12/17) "Through his hymns, Luther is grandfather of a musical revolution that shared and adapted, united in stomping change on the world through rousing melodies and simple words."  (BBC, 5/24/17; The Guardian, 8/8/17 The New York Times, 11/23/17)


                   Music
"Wagner and Ludwig were many things to each other: provocateur and protector, composer and patron, wily old showman and deep-pocketed fanboy."  (Lapham's Quarterly, Fall 2017) "But the Stasi were on to something. Even if they didn’t understand Zappa, they understood that people who liked Zappa were trouble."  (PRI, 8/9/17) A newly rediscovered song by Kurt Weill!  Listen to the Lied vom weissen Käse here.  (The New York Times, 11/6/17)


                  Art & Design
Berlin's Haus der Kulturen der Welt delves into its own cultural history with an exhibition on "Parapolitics: Cultural Freedom and the Cold War."  (The Guardian, 12/4/17) Jens Müller's Pioneers of German Graphic Design deserves a place of honor on your coffee table.  (The Verge, 11/12/17; Third Coast Review, 11/13/17) You know her notorious nephew, but Expressionist artist Cornelia Gurlitt appears to have been the real talent in the family.  (artnet, 11/13/17)


                  Books & Ideas
German is "a language that likes to invade from all sides. This means that Germans read and speak differently; we scan to the end of the sentence, then we go back and parse it....English speakers make it up as they go along; German speakers have to know where they're going."  (Literary Hub, 11/17/17) Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada, translated by Susan Bernofsky, "hums with beautiful strangeness"—and now it's won the inaugural Warwick Prize for Women in Translation.  (Granta, 9/22/2016; The New York Times, 11/25/16; Words Without Borders, 12/2016) Rüdiger Safranski's Goethe: Life as a Work of Art, translated by David Dollenmayer, "is aimed squarely at a German readership of Bildungsbürger, educated and tolerant of abstractions and paraphrases."  (The Washington Post, 5/17/17; Literary Review, 6/2017; The New York Times, 6/6/17; The Economist, 6/15/17; The New York Review of Books, 12/21/17)


                  Film
A closer look at the history of German film dubbing: "It's a story of control, denial, a commitment to craft and the discovery of a German funny bone."  (PRI, 10/11/17) "The problem is that Germans aren't really big with suspension of disbelief," says Jantje Friese, co-creator of Dark, Netflix's first original German-language series.  (The New York Times, 11/23/17) On August 25, 1967, Willy Brandt introduced West Germans to color TV.  (Deutsche Welle, 8/25/17) 


                  Theater
Young Marx, "a screwball comedy about socialism's founding father," is the opening production at London's brand-new Bridge Theatre.  (The Guardian, 10/26/17; Variety, 10/27/17; The Economist, 11/3/17) "What does a dance company do when its sole choreographer and leader, a figure as charismatic and intense as Pina Bausch, dies, leaving her dancers without a clear path forward?" It keeps performing, of course.  (The New York Times, 9/12/17; The New York Times, 9/12/17; The New York Times, 9/15/17) The Berlin Staatsoper is reopening after a seven-year renovation.  (The New York Times, 9/3/17; The New York Times, 12/8/17)


                  History
"Physical reminders of the crimes of Hitler and the Nazis confront Germans every day, and while a small minority may not like this, they have no choice but to put up with it. When it comes to accepting the sins of the past, there is, in the end, no alternative for Germany."  (Foreign Affairs, Jan/Feb 2018) Prora was constructed (but never used) as a Strength Through Joy holiday resort. Now the nearly three-mile-long compound on the Baltic Sea hopes to attract a luxury clientele. (The Guardian, 11/6/17) In memoriam: Georg Iggers (1926-2017): distinguished scholar and author of The German Conception of History—also a refugee from National Socialist Germany himself, and a passionate advocate for civil rights.  (The Buffalo News, 11/26/17)


                  Et Cetera
"It's the economy, stupid' simply does not apply to Germany's populist voters. Rather, it's the Kultur."  (The New York Review of Books, 12/7/17) "The collapse of coalition talks bodes badly for Angela Merkel, and for democratic governments everywhere."  (The Economist, 11/20/17; German Marshall Fund, 11/20/17; The New Yorker, 11/20/17; Slate, 11/20/17; Spiegel Online - International, 11/231/7; The New York Times, 11/24/17) "Kinder Eggs have finally arrived in America"—sort of. Kinder Joy eggs aren't the classic surprise eggs we've all been waiting for, but at least it's a start.  (Food & Wine, 11/13/2017)