Fawzi Boubia's "Mein West-Oestlicher Diwan"
A tale of disappointed love
German-Moroccan philosopher and writer Fawzi Boubia has long acted as a mediator between East and West, building cultural bridges in multiple publications. His strongly autobiographical novel "Mein West-Oestlicher Diwan" takes a merciless look at Germany's political and cultural trends, while celebrating its cultural and intellectual past. By Volker Kaminski
Mohamed Abla awarded Goethe Medal
Telling stories through art
Mohamed Abla is the first visual artist from Egypt to be awarded the Goethe-Institut’s Goethe Medal, Germany’s highest honour in the area of foreign cultural policy. Stefan Weidner sheds some light on the artist’s work
Interview with Jordanian novelist Jalal Barjas
"Some Arab writers present distorted images of their societies"
Jordanian writer Jalal Barjas' novel "Notebooks of the Bookseller", which won this year's Booker International Prize for Arabic Fiction, was celebrated at a symposium during the Berlin International Literature Festival in September. A large number of Germans and Arabs interested in Arabic literature attended. On the sidelines, journalist Rim Najmi caught up with Jalal Barjas
Karl-Josef Kuschel's "Goethe and the Koran"
Islam for the 21st century? Look no further than Goethe
No other Western poet was arguably so well-versed in the Koran or so fascinated by Islam as Germany's national hero, Goethe. In a new publication that examines all Goethe's writings relating to Islam, theologian Karl-Josef Kuschel shows that the poet's message is still highly relevant today. Stefan Weidner read the book
Professor Nasser Kanani on the Persian poet Hafez
"The joyful audacity of his spirit, the melody of his poetry"
Over the centuries Hafez' legacy has exerted a unique influence on numerous poets in Europe, with many an Orientalist falling under his spell. In interview with Yasmin Khalifa, Nasser Kanani explores the great poet’s sensuality, mysticism and elegance
Orient and Occident
Two hundred years of the "West-Eastern Divan": "North and West and South shatter, thrones burst and empires tremble" – why Islam is part of German literature. By Heinrich Detering
Goethe and Zoroastrianism
The eternal battle between good and evil
All his life Johann Wolfgang von Goethe felt a strong connection with Persia. Not only did he feel a spiritual affinity with the poet Hafez, he was also inspired and fascinated by the teachings and practices of Zarathustra, who lived in the first millennium before Christ. Melanie Christina Mohr reports
Johann Gottfried Herder and the Orient
Faith as silent spirituality
All his life, the German philosopher and poet Johann Gottfried Herder grappled with issues of the Orient and Islam, preaching his vision of a society shaped by humanity, tolerance and the individual, spiritual practice of faith. By Melanie Christina Mohr
Goethe′s fascination with the "Thousand and One Nights"
Mephistopheles spoke; Scheherazade beguiled
To date, critical studies of Faust have given little consideration to its Oriental elements, in particular the fables from the "Thousand and One Nights". Goethe′s fascination with the famous storyteller Scheherazade, and his adoption of her narrative techniques and themes, has been underestimated. By Melanie Christina Mohr
Goethe and the Orient
Why did the poet's mind wander to far-off climes?
When Goethe compiled over 200 poetic works to create his West-East Divan in 1814 and 1815, the 60-year-old had already been fascinated with the Orient his whole life. But what made the poet's mind wander to far-off climes? By Melanie Christina Mohr