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Guilt About the Past
by

The six essays that make up this compelling book view the long shadow of past guilt as a German experience as well as a global one. Bernhard Schlink explores the phenomenon of guilt and how it attaches to a whole society, not just to individual perpetrators.

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Overview

From the author of the international bestselling novel The Reader comes a compelling collection of six essays exploring the long shadow of past guilt, not just a German experience, but a global one as well.

‘I know of no other writer who engages with the struggle between the individual and the political world as deftly - and poetically - as Bernhard Schlink.' - The Herald

Bernhard Schlink explores the phenomenon of guilt and how it attaches to a whole society, not just to individual perpetrators. He considers how to use the lesson of history to motivate individual moral behaviour, how to reconcile a guilt-laden past, the role of law in this process and how the theme of guilt influences his own fiction. Based on the Weidenfeld Lectures he delivered at Oxford University, Guilt about the Past is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand how events of the past can affect a nation’s future. Written in Bernhard Schlink’s eloquent but accessible style, it taps in to worldwide interest in the aftermath of war and how to forgive and reconcile the various legacies of the past.

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Bernhard Schlink

Bernhard Schlink was born in 1944 near Bielefeld, Germany, to a German father and a Swiss mother. He grew up in Heidelberg and studied law in Heidelberg and Berlin. He is a professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law and the Philosophy of Law at Berlin's Humbolt University and a justice of the Constitutional Law Court in Bonn. Schlink has authored works in both fiction and non-fiction. Before publishing The Reader in 1995, he wrote several prize-winning mystery novels. Since its publication, The Reader has been translated into over twenty languages. His most recent literary novel was Homecoming (2008).