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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Nazi Germany is his starting-off example, but the lectures are far-ranging and provocative. Want to Read saving…. What she feels is individual guilt, for something she herself did.

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. I enjoy Schlink’s ideas of guilt and forgiveness but as his point it to discuss collective guilt, it misses the individual level of forgiving self for injuries bernhardd “The world is full of guilt that has never been forgiven and which can now no longer be forgiven – unless by God” These six short but pungent essays explore Guilt – both as a personal fe Bernhard Schlink From the Podium For those readers captivated by the extraordinary prose and gift for relating involving stories ‘The Reader’, ‘Flights of Love: Report an error Editorial code of conduct.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. He navigates long-held debates of comparing the Holocaust with contemporary events, whether diplomacy or protest is the best method to the opposition, and the complexities of representing the Holocaust within fiction. To see what your friends gjilt of this book, please sign up.

However, responsibility for not punishing a crime is not the same as being responsible for the crime in the first place and this guilt should be confined to their inaction about identifying and expelling Nazis not an assumption of the guilt for the original actions of the Nazis. If you would like to write a letter bernhardd the editor, please forward it to letters globeandmail.

This is an extraordinary little book. Published by University of Queensland Press first published September 30th In a global political climate where “alternative facts” have become the new norm, Schlink’s collection of essays becomes essential reading. I’m a great fan of of the form whereby an an accomplished individual takes the time to crystallize their thoughts and present them to a lay academic audience – the Massey Lectures in Toronto are just one such example.


Schlink argues that when some members of a collective commit crimes, its other members have a duty to identify them and expel them from the group.

Guilt about the Past

However it was deemed to be necessary berhard prosecute the guilty so that at least some measure of justice be carried out and and as a warning to the future that evil has consequence. He explains these concepts in their context, aiming at a broad-based understanding of their application.

The second essay built on that, in that the past is still present today, especially the Holocaust past’s presence in Schlin. One probably really needs to be a legal scholar to understand it all. The first essay explores how guilt passes down across generations.

This book is a reliable survey of Guilt about the Past, whether that be counted in centuries, in decades or in days. His anecdotes about his life as a lawyer in post-war Germany are consistently fascinating. He compares the legacy of the Holocaust for different generations. The six essays that make up this compelling book view the long shadow of past guilt both as a uniquely German experience and as a global one.

Based on the Weidenfeld Lectures he delivered at Oxford University, Guilt About the Past is essential reading for anyone wanting bernharr understand how events of the past can affect a nation’s future.

Guilt about the Past – Bernhard Schlink – Google Books

Dec 26, Rusty Wright rated it really liked it. For that we need God; that is what He is there for. And, should it be? The book is short but dense with ideas. They are not each guilr victim or perpetrators. From inside the book. It was quite an intense film as it asked the current generation about their forefathers.

In both his introduction and the first essay Schlink appropriately delves into history going back to the s when law were in guikt that punished members of families for something one member of a family didi; entire families could be by law tbe in a sack and drwoned for the malfeasance of one person.

While Schlink explains how forgiveness thr reconciliation can help over time he also makes clear that it will take several generations for the lingering effects of the guilt about the past to fade.


If they don’t, they become “entangled” in the perpetrators’ crimes and share their guilt; the behaviour of the few is then credited to the many. This is an important distinction: Or rather, how scglink can, and is it right to. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. If that past includes memories of committing mass slaughter, or of suffering torture, or of apathy in the face of cruelty, scblink dilemma is even more acute.

And he considers the problems facing literary representations of the past, and in particular fictional treatments of the Holocaust. He is a law professor. Want to read more?

Schlink, at another point in the book, argues that people who conform tend to conform. I’m a print subscriber, link to my account Subscribe to comment Why do I need to subscribe?

Schlink himself was born in Apr 15, A.

Review: Guilt About the Past, by Bernhard Schlink

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 directly associated with the perpetrators or the victims.

But a belief in collective guilt has helped Germany avoid repeating its awful past; it has in that way contributed to peace in Europe.

The second chapter explains how the past is still present for a lot of the post war generation and the following generation. Some societies, such as post Stalinist Russia take the route of repressing the memory and ignoring the past.

This book takes that same theme and tries to address it from a collective German perspective. All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. But collective guilt can be found all over the world, in this century and in history.