bernhard schlink Quotes

I can't say I'm thankful about being German because I sometimes experience it as a huge burden. But it is an integral part of me and I wouldn't want to escape it. I have accepted it.

- Bernhard Schlink

They waited awhile before lighting the candles; the gloom allowed the past to slip cozily into the present. But the memories were of a time that was gone and didn't overshadow the present. But the memories were vivid, and they made the freinds feel both young and old...When Chrsitanne finally lit the candles and they saw one another clearly again, she was happy to see in the old faces of the others the young faces they had come across in their memories. we store our youth wihtin us, we can go back to it and find ourselves in it, but it is past--melancholy filled their hearsts, and sympahty, for one another and for themsleves.

- Bernhard Schlink

Philosophy has forgotten about children

- Bernhard Schlink

Exploration! Exploring the past! We students in the camps seminar considered ourselves radical explorers. We tore open the windows and let in the air, the wind that finally whirled away the dust that society had permitted to settle over the horrors of the past. We made sure people could see. And we placed no reliance on legal scholarship. It was evident to us that there had to be convictions. It was just as evident as conviction of this or that camp guard or police enforcer was only the prelude. The generation that had been served by the guards and enforcers, or had done nothing to stop them, or had not banished them from its midst as it could have done after 1945, was in the dock, and we explored it, subjected it to trial by daylight, and condemned it to shame.

- Bernhard Schlink, The Reader

As I looked and looked, the living face became visible in the dead, the young in the old. This is what must happen to old married couples, I thought: the young man is preserved in the old one for her, the beauty and grace of the young woman stay fresh in the old one for him.

- Bernhard Schlink

Did my moral upbrining somehow turn against itself? If looking at someone with desire was as bad as satisfying the desire, if having an active fantasy was as bad as the act you were fantasizing- then why not the satisfaction and the act itself? As the days went on, I discovered that I couldn't stop thinking sinful thoughts. In which case I also wanted the sin itself.

- Bernhard Schlink

I could never stop comparing the way it was with Gertrud and the way it had been with Hanna; again and again, Gertrud and I would hold each other, and I would feel that something was wrong, that she was wrong, that she moved wrong and felt wrong, smelled wrong and tasted wrong. I thought I would get over it. I hoped it would go away. I wanted to be free of Hanna. But I never got over the feeling that something was wrong.

- Bernhard Schlink

why does what was beautiful shatter in hindsight because it concealed dark truths?

- Bernhard Schlink

When he answered, he went all the way back to beginnings. He instructed me about the individual, about freedom and dignity, about the human being as subject and the fact that one may not turn him into an object. “Don’t you remember how furious you would get as a little boy when Mama knew better what was good for you? Even how far one can act like this with children is a real problem. It is a philosophical problem, but philosophy does not concern itself with children. It leaves them to pedagogy, where they’re not in very good hands. Philosophy has forgotten about children.” He smiled at me. “Forgotten them forever, not just sometimes, the way I forget about you.”“But . . .”“But with adults I see absolutely no justification for setting other people’s views of what is good for them above their own ideas of what is good for themselves.”“Not even if they themselves are happy about it later?”He shook his head. “We’re not talking about happiness, we’re talking about dignity and freedom. Even as a little boy, you knew the difference. It was no comfort to you that your mother was always right.

- Bernhard Schlink

We make our own truths and lies....Truths are often lies and lies truths...

- Bernhard Schlink

You focus on telling stories,
we do everything else.