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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How else is it possible and it is surely desirable to seek reconciliation as a way of acknowledging and moving on from the past. Want to read more? Presented as a scglink of lectures inthey are such fine reading that deserve publication in book form.

According to Pasr ‘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. This little book will make you think, it will make you ask new questions. Mar 06, James rated it really liked it Shelves: Just a moment while we gguilt you in to your Goodreads account. But at the same time if victims raise objection to any aspect of the said depiction of events, one isn’t in a position to make judgement as an outsider looking in.

He thinks Germans’ view of their past should change. In other words, when the Nazis were in charge, these people conformed and led terrible lives, and afterward, they conformed and seemed entirely peaceful. When they didn’t – when they preferred to forget Nazism – they became guilty as a collective for what had been done. A profound examination of guilt, forgiveness and reconciliation aobut the lawyer, judge bernharc author of ‘The Reader’.

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 – Google Books

His final essay, which bbernhard whether realism should remain the expected approach authors take in Quite an interesting little book. February 27 But Guilt About the Pastbased on lectures Schlink gave at Oxford indefends the more problematic concept of collective guilt, which all members of a group feel for acts only some of them did.

His contention implies an active process that has to be worked through, yet that, with effort, will end in a satisfactory conclusion, where the past has in fact been “mastered”. Melissa rated it really liked it Feb 10, Lists with This Book.

The German experience, especially from the time of the Third Reich and the Holocaust, is at the centre of the debate.

Guilt about the Past

The short answer given is no, but they can help heal each other. He considers how to use the lesson of history to motivate individual moral behavior, how to reconcile a guilt-laden past, how the role of law functions in this process, and how the theme of guilt influences his own fiction.

They seemed normal and friendly; late at night, they’d reveal what they’d done during the Second World War. Really meticulous, interesting book.

Feb 18, Jeffrey rated it thr it. In Guilt About the PastBernhard Schlink converts six lectures into essays, which is why there are no notes.

Equally cool and enlightening is the second essay “The Presence of the Past” which examines the inherited responsibility of the generation after a genocide, noting different processes aids in the psychic healing of a nation, citing the effect of the South African Truth and Reconciliation meetings as well as German volunteers on kibbutzim, in effect filling in the labour that the victims of the Holocaust would have done had they lived.

The first essay defines individual and collective guilt and gives us a historical perspective. But we normally think we’ve progressed beyond that idea, that it has been an advance in our ethics to limit guilt and liability to what you as an individual have done.


Jun 02, Grady rated it it was amazing. These are thoughtful reflections, and Schlink offers more on a variety of topics.

Review: Guilt About the Past, by Bernhard Schlink

But together they This is an extraordinary little book. Apr 23, Meaghen rated it really liked it Shelves: Want to Read Currently Reading Read.

Sep 15, Hazel marked it as to-read. I thought it was a great meditation on the subject. He considers attempts to deal with the past through law, and in particular the legal status of retroactive punishment. Guilt gkilt one thing doesn’t imply guilt for another; that you’re responsible for not punishing a crime doesn’t make you responsible for the crime itself.

The parts where Schlink touches upon forgiveness and reconciliation, is a lot philosophical, making you think a lot on those themes after reading that essay. As a German citizen of the younger generation, this is a topic very close to begnhard heart and I was very curious to see how Schlink would develop his arguments for thoughts that I would have considerable difficulties to articulate. It is pertinent information for us as well as a fine documentation of the philosophy of collective guilt.

How does the legacy of the past impact on different generations? Apr 15, A. The first essay on the balance between individual and collective punishment compared to individual and collective responsibility is positively brilliant.