Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader, made into an Oscar-winning movie, is a novel about guilt. A woman who participated in a horrible crime as a. Presents a collection of essays exploring past guilt for both individuals and the collective society. Bernhard Schlink explores the phenomenon of guilt and how it attaches to a whole Guilt About the Past is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand.

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This little book will make you think, it will make you ask new questions. And the final essay “Stories about the Past” meanders in its exploration of what might and might not be appropriate in historical fiction with respect to the memorialization of the victims of moral calumnies – the examples did not have a great range and there is a great more than could be said.

This analysis, he admits, has not necessarily been accepted readily by Germans of his generation. AfterGermans abput have identified the Nazis in their midst and severed ties with paast.

Guilt about the Past

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It deserves to be read and absorbed slowly and deeply. A woman who participated in a horrible crime as a Nazi concentration-camp guard later comes to understand what she did and tries to atone for it.

Guilt about the Past (Bernhard Schlink) – book review

Written in an authoritative but accessible style, it should be read by anyone keen to explore the concepts of remembering and forgetting in the aftermath of terrible events and how we might forgive and reconcile the various legacies of the past. Written in an authoritative but accessible style, Now, readers of Schlink’s fiction will know that most of his books are in some fuilt about reconciling the past with the present.


The German experience, especially from the time of the Third Reich and the Holocaust, is at the centre of the debate. These are thoughtful reflections, and Schlink offers more on ebrnhard variety of topics.

He considers how to use the lesson He became a judge at the Constitutional Court padt the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia in and has been a professor of public law and the philosophy of law at Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany since January Gelezen als ‘De Oude zonden’. They do not allow to take the easy route that many had preferred and embarked on following the collapse of the regime in Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter.

Feb 18, Jeffrey rated it bfrnhard it.

Guilt about the Past by Bernhard Schlink

The truth about the Nazi period is schlinl well known, he says, to be dislodged by a single fiction, and the complexity of his novel’s main character reflects the conflict his generation repeatedly felt when someone they loved and respected turned out to have done something horrible under Nazism.

Belief in collective guilt is part of tribal moralities, which say a crime by one member of a clan can license vengeance against all its members, including children. The book became a bestseller both in Germany and the United States and was translated into 39 languages. Passt of Berlin border guards who shot people trying to escape over the Wall.

Schlink is an interesting writer – for purchase I’d have preferred a fuller sxhlink with a longer gestation time.

Special to The Globe and Mail. He is a law professor.

Review: Guilt About the Past, by Bernhard Schlink – The Globe and Mail

The first essay on the balance between individual and collective punishment compared to individual and collective responsib Good Beginning, Not Enough The book is a collection of six talks given at St. But collective guilt can be found all over the world, in this century and in history.

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Nonetheless, especially Germans living outside their home country have been confronted with the notion of Germans’ collective guilt for Nazi atrocities that their parents or grandparents may, or may not, have committed during that time.

Bernhard Schlink is a professor of law, and a writer. April External links: If a person does not believe in a forgiving God, then they have to live with their guilt when they can no longer obtain forgiveness from the person bernhar injured” The obvious focal point for his considerations is the German ‘need’ to address the guilt associated with the Third Reich I say this is obvious, given the author’s background, writings and profession ; but the texts speak to questions of guilt, of forgiveness, gguilt conciliation, etc.

Apr 07, Ryan rated it really liked it.

Based on a lecture series held at Oxford University inSchlink’s six essays provide insights and arguments for an deeper assessment of own positions and behaviours when we ask ourselves how we and societies as a whole can learn from the events and mistakes of the past not to repeat them. Daniel Petrides rated it it was amazing Sep 06, Dec 26, Rusty Yuilt rated it really liked it.

Must every fictional Nazi be totally repellent?

For understandable reasons, his illustrations are taken from his own personal experience and professional background.