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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Germans born during the Second World War or shortly after it were not exempt from the sense of disbelief, disgust and guilt.

Mar 18, Kaeti is currently reading it. Unfortunately the remaining essays are not quite as thought provoking. Relevant to schlini quandries about the role of government and states in crimes and wars.

One probably really needs to be a legal scholar to understand it all. Please update your billing details here to continue enjoying your access to the most informative and considered journalism in the UK.

Review: Guilt About the Past, by Bernhard Schlink

But guilf a slide in this argument. My library Help Advanced Book Search. We each live in some form of tribal society and thus thinking about the possibility of collective guilt in some circumstances and its consequences is worthwhile. Those who didn’t expel the Nazis were indeed guilty, but of something they as individuals did, bernharrd, not expel the Nazis.

Schlink achlink his allegiance to individual responsibility by having to find something the Germans of did; it wasn’t enough that they were just there. A highly respected jurist and law professor emeritus in Germany, he presents a number of philosophical arguments intended to advance the important debate on guilt about the past and its profound influence on all who follow, whether individuals, institutions or states and, whether di “For my generation the past is still very present Schlink, bernhagd case readers forgot, authored The Readera powerful novel that was later adapted for an excellent film.


The first essay explores how guilt passes down across generations. Margaret rated it liked it Jan 29, Most Germans alive today are too far removed from its perpetrators, even if just paat time, to form a genuine collective with them or share their guilt.

Schlink examines the tension between the individu In a global political climate where “alternative facts” have become the new norm, Schlink’s collection of essays becomes essential reading. The first essay defines individual and collective guilt and gives us a historical perspective.

Account Options Sign in. Report an error Editorial code of conduct. I remain more conservative than Schlink on this question.

Guilt about the Past – Bernhard Schlink – Google Books

I highly recommend it. Anne’s College, Oxford, in given by noted author and jurist Bernhard Schlink. Mar 06, James rated it really liked it Shelves: The British have India to think about, the Americans slavery, and the Canadians their First Nations — vuilt the list goes on.

I’m a great fan of of the form whereby an an accomplished individual takes the time to berhhard their thoughts and present them to a lay academic audience – the Massey Lectures in Toronto are just one such example.

This book bernharx a series of essays based upon a series of lectures that explores the concepts of collective guilt; how we might use history to motivate individual moral behaviour; how to reconcile a guilt-laden past; the role of the legal process in all of this; before settling on how the theme of guilt influences fiction. Many of Schlink’s reflections are independent of his defence of collective guilt; you can be stimulated by the former while rejecting the latter.


Story continues below advertisement. A philosophically dubious idea can sometimes have good effects; here an ethical error may have been a pst blessing. This is an important distinction: Bernhard Schlink divides his time between New York and Berlin.

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

Please update your billing details here. How does the legacy of the past impact on different generations? I liked his observation that when a people victimizes member of it’s own group, as happens in the case of tyrannies such as the GDR and I can think of a number of other examples there is not the same exploration of guilt and healing – but I’m not sure how true that really is.

His focus is again his native Germany, and the responsibility that whole nation has felt for the crimes of the Nazi period. Personally speaking, the film’s I’ve seen which are inspired by real life events Schindlers List or even fiction Das Leben der Anderen or even Goodbye Lenin have definitely prodded me on to dig deeper into the history.

February 27 The first, Collective Guilt? The third essay is solid examining the necessity at Nuremberg of applying new law against crimes that occurred in the past, where the law of the land at the time was insufficient. And yet, there is something compelling about the writing, such that you can’t really call it ‘academic’ either; or if you do, you do so in the most favourable, delightful way.

If you have read his other works then your impressions may differ.

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