Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-2018

Publication Title

Philosophy and Literature

Abstract

In Bernhard Schlink's The Reader, former Nazi perpetrator Hanna Schmitz commits suicide, and scholars have not yet answered the question why. When Michael visits Hanna's cell after her death, he notices books on her shelf by Primo Levi, Elie Wiesel, Tadeusz Borowski, Jean Améry, Rudolf Höss, and Hannah Arendt. By citing works from these authors, I argue that Hanna kills herself because she discovers that Michael has become what she once was. I also demonstrate that through her suicide, Hanna fulfills a major demand found in the works of Améry, and by fulfilling that demand, Améry and Hanna are united.

Publisher

Johns Hopkins University Press

Volume

42

Issue

1

First Page

145

Last Page

164

DOI

10.1353/phl.2018.0008

ISSN

1086-329X

Comments

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by John Hopkins University Press in Philosophy and Literature in April 2018, available online: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/695386

Rights

©2018 Johns Hopkins University Press

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