The Silence of the Night: Collaboration, Deceit, and Remorselessness

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Towards the end of the twentieth century, the issue of collaboration with the Third Reich became particularly problematic for deconstructive criticism. The distinction between collaboration and cooperation is often far from clear, however, and in borderline cases the opacity of the motives behind the alleged collaboration may be such that retrospective historical judgements run the risk of appearing arbitrary. In contrast, the decision to remain silent about alleged collaboration can – and should – invite negative moral judgement. On the one hand silence offers evidence of deceit; on the other, silence speaks of an absence of regret or remorse; and in the case with which this paper is primarily concerned, silence is indicative of both deceit and remorselessness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-184
JournalOrbis Litterarum
Issue number2
Early online date7 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2016


  • deconstruction
  • ethics
  • silence
  • Kurt Vonnegut Jr
  • Jacques Derrida
  • Paul de Man


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