Ernst Jünger

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Ernst Jünger

lokakuu 14, 2008, 6:12 pm

Myself and Ben have spoken of Ernst Jünger before. I believe it was in this group but I see no Jünger thread. For anyone interested another non-fiction book by Jünger is going to be published soon. It is titled 'On Pain', and it looks to be diametrically opposed to 'The Peace'. (Telos Press is bringing it out.) The point I was making to Ben is that everyone reads Heidegger, but Heidegger was reading Jünger. We need to see more of his non-fic translated. To the best of my knowledge the only non-fiction of Jünger translated into English are as follows:

German Writings Before and After 1945: E. Jünger, et. al.; Jurgen Peter. Contains excerpts from the 'Paris Diaries'.
Heidegger Controversy: A Critical Reader, Wolin, Richard. Contains the essay 'Total Mobilization'.
The Details of Time: Conversations With Ernst Junger, Hervier, Julien. I believe Ben has seen this.
The Peace (The Humanist Library), Ernst Jünger. Written during the waning days of WWII.

Also, there is an essay by Martin Heidegger (that has been translated as The Question of Being), called "Uber 'Die Linie'," which is a response to Jünger's essay, "Uber die Linie." If you are interested in nihilism you may also be interested in this book. Jünger was a fascist, not a Nazi, who preferred an alliance with the USSR against the West. This was the so-called 'National-Bolshevik' position. If one considers the big four German fascist intellectuals (Heidegger, Carl Schmitt, Oswald Spengler, and Ernst Junger) the brighter two were the more anti-semitic - go figure. I've been told that Schmitt's diaries (I don't know if they've been fully published in Germany, or just excerpted) are at times almost insane...


PS. As usual, some touchstones don't load.

lokakuu 16, 2008, 10:28 am

French publishers (mostly Gallimard, in the "Du Monde Entier" collection) have, I think, translated the whole lot of his Diaries, something like 5 + heavy books. War Diaries I have somewhere but am yet to find time to go through. The Julien Hervier conversation is a must, and I have personal love for "The Gordian Knot" (touchstone not loading).

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 16, 2008, 11:12 am

I've been looking out for the Diaries (in English) since reading Bruce Chatwin's essay on Junger in What Am I Doing Here many years ago. I was finally able to find Storm of Steel after Penguin included it in their Classics series, so perhaps there is still hope.

In the meantime, I'll be looking for the Telos book. Thanks for starting this thread. There was another Junger conversation going a few months ago, embedded in another thread.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 16, 2008, 4:40 pm

I second the recommendation of the dialog with Julien Hervier; until I read that book I had not suspected the existence of a vile strain of vanity that might might have made up a fair portion of Junger's character. It is suggested in Bruce Chatwin's essay, buy comes out of Junger's own mouth in Hervier's book.

lokakuu 16, 2008, 9:25 pm

#2 Am I correct in thinking that the 'Gordische Knoten' was never translated into English? There is, btw, a review of it by Evola here:

#3 Yes, I am continually losing conversations on the 'net because I forgot what thread they occurred in... Read 'Storm of Steel' years ago but my literature collection has been decimated over time and I despair of restoring it.

#4 Yes, vanity, and there is also a bit of the 'dandy' in Jünger; one can easily visualize him in the company of an Oscar Wilde! It was his aloof and aristocratic nature that kept him from really immersing himself in any of the great historical movements of the last century. In the end he was a collector and commemorator of exquisite moments; some on the battlefield, some while on drugs, some while writing, and some on the forest floor with his beetles. But each, in its own specific way, was incomparable...

lokakuu 17, 2008, 4:19 pm

That is what attracts me to him - his meticulousness, his sense of pure vitality - and that sort of connoisseur's nihilism. What gives me the urge to handle him salad tongs is his gushing over having so many French readers (He seems quite flattered, grateful. After all, he's a European artist and philosopher, a warrior, maybe - but Wehrmacht, not SS (you say tomato...). There's a passage in the Hervier book where he confides that some of his artist friends who received him in his dashing uniform hoped for a German victory, as there was more of a common culture between the Germans and the French, as opposed to the "Allies". I enjoy his writings, but I don't think I'd care for him. Which, of course, means nothing.

lokakuu 20, 2008, 9:00 am

Through this discussion I discovered that I didn't have Storms of Steel, although I was convinced it was on a shelf, somewhere. I'll put it on order immediately

lokakuu 20, 2008, 10:58 am

You should like it. A good portion, I believe, takes place in your backyard.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 22, 2008, 10:25 am

Storm of Steel is a must - a great antidote to those "war is awful" novels (war might be hell, but it is, seemingly, as intrinsic to the race as breathing and breeding. And Junger is concerned with the intrinsic, with race). We read whiny Erich Remarque and Dalton Trumbo in high school, but Junger was on no reading list (likely less an issue of propaganda than of literary abstemiousness on the part of our teachers).

Junger celebrates war in the way Rimbaud celebrated hallucination, polymorphous eroticism - as a sort of revelatory instant, a way out of accreted definition and toward Authority. I say he celebrates war, but I do not mean that in the hackneyed sense of "glorifying war". Alert to (and capably expressive of) the horrors of mutilation, death and loud, lethal immensity, Junger creates a sort of epic for a new age - one defined by technique, power and an absence of the old normative archons (gods, kings, good/evil, etc.).

What bothers me about Junger is that his thought is not so different from that of the skull-rubbing, nose-measuring Nazis, whom he held in a sort of aristocratic contempt. Race seems to determine destiny in Junger: Hanseatic peoples have certain traits, Levantine Jews are gifted in matters of business and vice, a bohemian Jew (in Aladdin's Problem) who shows a sudden knack for business "must have had an Chassidic rebbe in his family tree"; Junger makes much of his Dupin character’s Jewishness in A Dangerous Encounter (he is not incidentally a Jew, but representatively Jewish - a symbol rather than an individual). It’s embarrassing to read. I think he believes that race might be will and that breeding determines character (when old aristos grew weak in number and resources, “coachmen begat counts and counts begat coachmen”, which might account for how an anarch can find himself thrown into the work-a-day world). I don't mean to dip into the canned sentimentality that typically glazes such issues these days – but the fact that Junger believes, or so it seems to me, that blood is character, self, soul, agency (hence, value) makes him only slightly more interesting than your typical proselyte.

I don’t think his concept of the “anarch” is in contradiction to a belief in essential realities. The anarch, free from or above such prejudices as ideology and mob sentiment (morality), can observe the cycles of destiny and the spoor of the ancestor in the career of the son. This is not far from a belief in gods or the cult of souls.

I have learned to approach his novels (with the exception of On the Marble Cliffs) in the same way I would approach a tract written by a discreet, but fervently convinced Christian, Muslim, patriot, feminist, etc. It is that dreadfulness of there being a bottom line that puts me off. I get the sense that a conviction, rather than some posture of "being", is under disclosure. Maybe I'm a curmudgeon.

lokakuu 25, 2008, 1:38 pm

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

tammikuu 30, 2011, 4:35 am

I am resurrecting this thread to mention that I have reviewed 'The Peace'. Since it is not readily available in English, the review attempts to follow the drift of the argument in a very detailed manner.


joulukuu 23, 2011, 5:09 pm

Came across an interesting book at the thrift store: The Bullet's Song: Romantic Violence and Utopia by William Pfaff. Junger as well as D'Annunzio, Mussolini, and Koestler and Malraux get profiled.

joulukuu 29, 2011, 8:33 pm

All his books are worth reading. The man was a genius and a major figure of the 20th Century.

tammikuu 14, 2012, 6:38 am

Check out his San Pietro suivi de Serpentara on his discovery of two small fishermen's islands southwest of Sardegna in the fifties. Magnificent.

maaliskuu 4, 2012, 10:28 pm

Revisiting this thread, I'll note that some (too few) selections of Junger's Paris diaries are included in the German Library anthology Writings Before and After 1945.

maaliskuu 8, 2012, 1:57 pm

I would highly recommend Wonder by Hugo Claus An interesting dissection of collaborationists in Belgium. Written in 1962, it has the feel of a New Wave film, populated with strange characters, including a fascist sculptor, and a group dedicated to the memory of a messianic leader of the Belgium Rexists. Sacralized depravity, indeed!

I think it's apropos to this discussion on proto-fascist Ernst Junger and the collisions of extremist politics and literary talent.

kesäkuu 30, 2015, 2:44 pm

According to amazon, Telos Press is coming out with the following 2 translations of Jünger:

Sturm, Ernst Jüngerünger/dp/0914386549/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&i...

Eumeswil, Ernst Jüngerünger/dp/0914386522/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&am...

Also, if you are interested in Jünger nonfic you might be pleased to know that they are also publishing:
Land and Sea: A World-Historical Meditation, Carl Schmitt

I had never heard of Sturm. I have reviewed an earlier translation of the Schmitt book here:

This old translation by Simona Draghici was, at best, merely adequate.

heinäkuu 20, 2015, 3:47 pm

I agree that Storm of Steel is a must, and should be read by anyone who has also read Remarque. I've just finished On the Marble Cliffs, (about time too) and I am not sure what to think of it. It has its qualities, but I find the stoic-nihilistic conclusion a bit too glib. This 'ah well, it was good while it lasted' attitude undermines the horror of the barbarism that is depicted, and is a facile way of claiming moral victory. That being said, especially in the second part, where the action starts, there are great moments.

On a side note, is it me, or is there really a lot of drinking in both books.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 13, 8:25 pm

To reboot this topic for the most marginal of reasons, this brief exchange with the translator of the recent and recommended English version of Auf den Marmor-Klippen(she caught a my potential early signal of full-bore Alzheimer's; I had no recall of eburnum in Hood's. Avaunt to all that. Time to chill the gin and clean the Sig-Sauer):

Thank you for your words about my translation. Jünger created a number of faux archaic neologisms like Eburnum.
Here is the first mention:

Dann aber gab es das Eburnum, das im Altertume den Erlegern der Ungeheuer, die vor der Menschen-

Siedlung in den Sümpfen und Klüften hausten, vorbehalten war. Das klassische Eburnum mußte in

höchster, erlauchter Heiterkeit gehalten sein; es hatte in der Admiratio zu enden, während deren

aus zerbrochenem Käfig ein schwarzer Adler in die Lüfte stieg. In dem Maße, in dem die Zeiten sich

milderten, erkannte man das Eburnum auch jenen, die man die Mehrer oder Optimalen nannte, zu.

Wer nun zu diesen zählte, dessen war das Volk sich stets bewußt gewesen, obgleich mit der Verfeinerung

des Lebens sich auch die Ahnenbilder wandelten.

Here is Hood’s version if you care to compare

On the other hand there was the eburnum, which in olden days was reserved for the slayers of monsters that

dwelt in the swamps and crags. The classical eburnum had to be delivered with high style and noble joy; its peroration

was the Admiratio, during which a black eagle soared up from a broken cage. As the times grew milder the eburnum

was granted also to those who were known as builders of the state, or " optimates."


syyskuu 19, 10:51 am

I wonder if she (or anyone) has plans to translate Heliopolis?

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