March 4, 2014

Conferenze su Ernst Jünger in Italia per 2014

E' uscito il nuovo programma del ciclo di conferenze per 2014 dell'Associazione Eumeswil di Firenze! Tema per questo anno: IL CORAGGIO. (Tutto il programma da scaricare qui)


Tra le 24 interventi da Marzo a Novembre ci sono già 4 conferenze su Ernst Jünger:
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Sabato 25 Ottobre
L’eroe anarchico
Relatore; Marcello Barison, ricercatore in filosofia, scrittore
Jünger e l’esperienza del sacro
Relatore: Gregorio Bardini, musicista, scrittore
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Sabato 22 Novembre
La felicità nell’era della tecnica. Riflessioni sul messaggio di Ernst Jünger 
Relatore: Alberto Krali, docente di Lingua tedesca, Università Cattolica di Milano
Oltre la linea tra M. Heidegger e E. Jünger
Relatore: Pavel Rebernik, docente incaricato di Filosofia, Pontificia Università Gregoriana
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Tutte le conferenze si terranno alle ore 17
L’Istituto dei Padri Scolopi - Scuole Pie Fiorentine -
Via Lamarmora n. 35 – Firenze, Italia.

Entrata a offerta libera. L’Associazione si riserva il diritto d’ ingresso

March 1, 2014

Jünger-Symposion 2014 - Programm und Einladung

Jünger-Symposiom Vollprogramm 2014
Click on the image or here for the full program (Google Drive)

February 27, 2014

Ernst Jünger and the living memory of World War I

Thanks to Eliah Bures for this excellent article in the Los Angeles Review of Books on the importance and best use of living memories of war in general and World War I in particular: Rest in Peace: World War I and Living Memory. Eliah focuses especially on Ernst Jünger's war diary, the Kriegstagebuch 1914-1918, which appeared in print in 2010. 

A short excerpt follows, full text here.

"One of the most revealing before-and-after comparisons has only recently become available. In 2010, Ernst Jünger’s Kriegstagebuch, 1914-1918 appeared in print, some 12 years after its author’s death at the age of 102. This “War Diary,” which records in meticulous detail Jünger’s 44 months on the Western Front, formed the basis for a host of memoirs, of which Storm of Steel is undoubtedly the most famous. First published in 1920, Storm of Steel underwent numerous revisions, evolving throughout that decade into a manifesto of a “new nationalism” that recast Germany’s battlefield defeat as a spiritual victory, the fiery birth of a new and hardened warrior-elite who would redeem the nation. Even in the amended 1961 edition on which the recent English translation is based, Storm of Steel remains an arresting counterpoint to the received wisdom about the war. 
What is striking, however, is how this classic statement of the pro-war myth differs from the war Jünger recorded in his diaries. Indeed, the Kriegstagebuch reveals a soldier who, though clearly the narrator in embryo of works like Storm of Steel, was more susceptible to the war’s grim absurdities than hitherto suspected. If the Kriegstagebuch never gives up on the war as a heroic adventure, it also records moments of clear disillusionment. As Jünger wrote in May 1917, in a meditation on the war’s devastated landscape: “When will this shitty war come to an end? What might one have seen and enjoyed during this time… But still no end in sight.” 
There is, in fact, hardly a trope, image, or barb familiar to students of the anti-war myth that fails to find its way into the Kriegstagebuch. Jünger resents the orders of staff officers and begrudges ideas about the conduct of the war from those “rear-area pigs” less acquainted than he with conditions in the front lines. The gulf between the truth of actions Jünger has taken part in and the sanitized accounts that appear in official communiqués calls forth responses ranging from bemusement to disgruntled annoyance. Time and again he catalogs the miseries of rain, mud, cold, lice, boredom, shabby quarters, meager rations, interrupted sleep, and sheer exhaustion. And above all there is the ubiquitous presence of corpses: the soft feel of bodies beneath one’s feet; the unmistakable smell of decomposing flesh, particularly unwelcome at mealtime; the sight and sound of maggots; bodies bloated and covered in flies; the discovery of corpses — or, more often, a mélange of their component parts — while digging in; and the relentless effects of artillery, disturbing and dismembering bodies long dead like a plow turning and breaking the soil. (“Not even the dead,” Jünger dryly notes, “are permitted to rest in peace.”) Death, when it comes, strikes randomly and from points unknown. That the liberal consumption of alcohol figures so prominently in Jünger’s diaries is hardly a surprise."

February 21, 2014

Post-1945 Ernst Jünger: Call for Papers


A Call for Papers on post-1945 Ernst Jünger, which for obvious reasons I am happy to pass on here - far too infrequently does this vastly more significant period of his life get attention from academia!

Organized by/for the annual meeting of american Germanisten in Kansas City, Missouri, Sept 18 - 21.

For more information, click on the text or contact Thorsten Carstensen:  tcarsten(at)iupui.edu.

Ernst Jünger incontro a Varese. 1 Marzo 2014


What would seem to be quite an interesting meeting on Ernst Jünger in Varese, Italy. With Quirino Principe, major translator of Jünger in Italian. Click on the image to view original.

Un incontro su Ernst Jünger in Varese, tra l'altro con il traduttore maggiore in Italiano delle sue opere, Quirono Principe. Clickare sul immagine per vedere il depliant originale.


December 3, 2013

Praise for the new English translation of Jünger's Der Waldgang

The Forest Passage is available from Telos (and other major booksellers) as of today. Some comments from the Telos site on the book:

Ernst Jünger's The Forest Passage explores the possibility of resistance: how the independent thinker can withstand and oppose the power of the omnipresent state. No matter how extensive the technologies of surveillance become, the forest can shelter the rebel, and the rebel can strike back against tyranny. Jünger's manifesto is a defense of freedom against the pressure to conform to political manipulation and artificial consensus. A response to the European experience under Nazism, Fascism, and Communism, The Forest Passage has lessons equally relevant for today, wherever an imposed uniformity threatens to stifle liberty.
Praise for The Forest Passage
"In a strikingly poetic political statement written soon after the Second World War, Ernst Jünger rejects the two reigning ideologies, democracy and communism, in favor of an individualistic stance anticipating what we now call libertarianism. The ideal that Jünger projects for us is a metaphorical 'passage through the forest' in which we remain constantly put to the test, with the result that we emerge self-sufficient, rebellious, heroic."
—Herbert Lindenberger, Stanford University
"The Forest Rebel says no to power, outwardly unobtrusive but inwardly rebellious and martial, spiritually, politically, and intellectually, an anarch as opposed to an anarchist. Many of the ideas here reflect Germany's geopolitical situation in the Cold War, powerless against the occupiers of East and West. But the treatise transcends the context in which it was born and manifests Jünger's sharp analysis of trends and problems that are as relevant today as ever. Particularly in the age of the mass plebiscite called the internet and as the marriage of the state and technology has given government unprecedented power over its citizens, a book about how to resist modern forms of tyranny is timely and much needed."
—Elliot Neaman, University of San Francisco
"In the Anglophone world the intellectual and writer Ernst Jünger has been overshadowed by the image of the fierce World War I warrior and the radical right-wing ideologue of the 1920s. The result has been an uneven and one-sided public reception that has severely underestimated the significance and complexity of Jünger's literary oeuvre. Especially his late work has barely been noticed. A critical revision of old approaches is definitely overdue. Therefore the publication of The Forest Passage is a truly important step in the right direction."
—Peter Uwe Hohendahl, Cornell University
"This fascinating work seeks out a place of inner subjective freedom where the besieged citizen of the modern world may withhold consent and refuse participation in the hellish tyranny of administrative totalitarianism. Jünger invites his reader to become a passenger in this forest of thoughtful reflection beyond the reach of political coercion and conformism."
—Robert Harrison, Stanford University

November 25, 2013

The Forest Passage - old freedom in new clothes

Another short excerpt from the forthcoming publication of "The Forest Passage" by Ernst Jünger, naturally with the permission of the publisher Telos Press. It will be available from Telos sometime in December - stay tuned!

(... from Chapter 31)

"As we see, predicaments arise which demand an immediate moral decision, and this is most true where the vortex is deepest and most turbulent. 
This has not been, and will not always be the case. Generally speaking, the institutions and the rules associated with them provide navigable terrain; what is legal and moral lies in the wind. Naturally, abuses occur, but there are also courts and police. 
This changes when morality is substituted by a subspecies of technology, that is, by propaganda, and the institutions are transformed into weapons of civil war. The decision then falls to the individual, as an either-or, since a third position, neutrality, is excluded. From this point forward, a particular form of infamy lies in non-participation, but also in making judgments from a non-participating position. 
The ruling powers, in their changing incarnations, also confront the individual with an either-or. This is the curtain of time, which rises perpetually on the same, ever-recurring spectacle. The figures appearing on the curtain are not the most important point - the either-or facing the individual has a quite different aspect. He is led to the point where a choice must be made between his directly bestowed human nature and the nature of a criminal.

How will the individual stand up to this interrogation? Our future hangs in the balance on just this point. Perhaps it will be decided just where the darkness appears blackest. Alongside the autonomous moral decision, crime forms the other option for preserving sovereignty in the midst of the loss, in the midst of the nihilistic undermining of being. The French existentialists recognized this much correctly. Crime has nothing to do with nihilism; on the contrary, it offers a refuge from nihilism’s destructive erosion of self-awareness, a way out of the wastelands to which it leads. Chamfort already said: “L'homme, dans l'état actuel de la société, me paraît plus corrompu par sa raison que par ses passions.” *

November 16, 2013

The Forest Passage - into the concrete jungle

Looking forward to the publication of this first translation of Ernst Jünger's Der Waldgang from Telos Press in December! Until then the cover image also provides food for thought. 

Visually, I find it original and eye-catching. More importantly, it communicates in a nicely condensed form much of what Jünger has to say in the text; any reader ripe for the author's message should understand to pick it off the bookshelf. 

The image makes it clear that a forest passage is not an historic Icelandic phenomenon (the origin of the term), but rather a live-saving possibility in the concrete jungle too. It suggests that the grey facade of technological civilization can be torn aside by a resolute individual, and that behind it will he will find an eternally intact wilderness, a forest of primal freedom, and of dangers that are worth the risk. When his hunger for a personal destiny, his hatred of being a number, a statistic in the machine of Leviathan is strong enough, or when he is simply driven to the adventure by desperate circumstances, he will discover that the apparent omnipotence of society and state is only an intimidating bluff, a veneer that avails itself of showy technology. He will discover that a lone brave heart can stand up to this Goliath too.

The tear that he makes in the fabric of society, openly or secretly, lets new light shine into his world, light from an infinitely greater and older source than the artificial power "illuminating" and impelling modern civilization on its brief, fiery trajectory. This light reveals to him for the first time the possibility of his own true path, of a destiny that he was uniquely born to fulfill, of which the state and even Google can know nothing at all.

October 31, 2013

iPhone4 or iPhonophore?

It was not Steve Jobs and Apple who invented the iPhone4 - they only gave birth to what Ernst Jünger had intellectually conceived in 1949 in the novel Heliopolis and continued into Eumeswil (1977). By a nice coincidence, Ernst Jünger's "universal communicator" has essentially the same name - the phonophore.

iPhone4 or iPhonophore?
Below is a rough translation of the most relevant passage from Heliopolis - only a brief commentary is useful, so obvious are the parallels. (See also my previous blog on the Phonophore.)

(Originaltext auf Deutsch ist unten ...)

October 26, 2013

The Forest Passage - coming soon in English!


I am thrilled to spread the news today from Telos Press that "Der Waldgang" will soon be available in English under the title "The Forest Passage"! Last year Telos also published "The Adventurous Heart: Figures and Capriccios" and are thus apparently intent on becoming the new publisher of Jünger's books in English. On behalf of all those who have been starving over the last decade for new English translations of Jünger - thank you, Telos!

I have also happily received permission to help support the publication of this critical work with a few previews over the next weeks, beginning with this excerpt contrasting the Forest Rebel with the Worker and the Unknown Soldier and beginning to explain why he is determined to fight for his freedom in a technically-imposed collective slavery.

(From Chapter 12)
"We previously referred to the Worker and the Unknown Soldier as two of the significant figures of our times. In the forest rebel we conceive a third figure, one that is emerging ever more clearly.  
In the Worker the active principle is deployed in an attempt to pervade and master the universe in a new manner, to reach places, near and far, which no eye has ever seen, to command forces that none have ever before unleashed. In the shadow of these actions stands the Unknown Soldier, as sacrificial victim, who shoulders the burden across vast wastelands of fire, and who, as good and unifying spirit, is invoked not only within a people but also between peoples. He is the immediate son of the earth.

October 11, 2013

Exhibition: Ernst Jünger and Albert Renger-Patzsch


Just received notice of this interesting exhibition in Boulder, Colorado, from its curator, Ross Etherton, a PhD student at the University of Colorado Boulder. 

His exhibit showcases many early copies of Jünger's works, most of which once belonged to Gerhard Loose (one of Jünger's biographers), as well as some hand-labeled beetles that belonged to Jünger (on loan from Dr. Frank Krell from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, who met Jünger in the 1980s). The exhibit also features early copies of Renger-Patzsch's books, as well as Bäume und Gestein. 

Although already open to the public, the official opening ceremony is on Monday Oct 14.

(Reminds me that there was another Jünger and Renger-Patzsch exhibition in Munich last year....)

March 9, 2013

Ciclo Conferenze 2013 - Associazione Eumeswil Firenze

L'Associazione Eumeswil ha organizzato per il 2013 un ciclo di 24 conferenze sul tema: L'IMMAGINE DEL MONDO, che avra' inizio sabato 9 marzo alle ore 17 presso la sede delle Scuole Pie Fiorentine via Cavour, 94. Download il programma

La prima conferenza sarà di Antonio Vitolo che parlerà su: "Il mondo interno ed il mondo esterno degli adulti oggi". Seguirà sabato 23 Marzo, Guido Zanderigo su: "L'immagine del mondo e della sua fine secondo l'induismo". Nel ciclo si parlerà poi di Jünger, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Evola ed altri pensatori europe. Tra i relatori: Luca Crescenzi, che parlerà dei mondi simultanei nei romanzi di Ernst Junger; Giuseppe Lippi, il massimo studioso italiano di Lovecraft, curatore di Urania Mondadori; Amelia Valtolina, docente di letteratura tedesca e traduttrice del poeta espressionista Gottfried Benn; Paola Capriolo, scrittrice i cui romanzi, tradotti in varie lingue, rappresentano un momento significativo della letteratura italiana contemporanea.

February 4, 2013

Jünger Translation Competition!

Ernst Jünger Translation Competition Launched

The German Department at the University of Bristol is holding a translation competition and invites translations from German into English of extracts from some of Ernst Jünger’s travel writings. Prize money will be given to four entries, with one category limited to entries from current undergraduate students, and numerous book prizes will also be awarded. The deadline for submission of entries is 1 July 2013. Entries will be judged by Julian Evans (London), Christophe Fricker (Bristol), Thomas Friese (Vienna), Petra Rau (Norwich), and Robert Vilain (Bristol).

More information as well as an entry form is available at www.ernst-juenger-translation.info.

Ernst Jünger (1895-1998) was one of the most significant writers and thinkers of 20th-century Europe, and is one of the most controversial. He became famous with the publication in 1920 of In Stahl­gewittern [Storm of Steel], an account of his experiences in the trenches in the First World War. In the following eight decades, Jünger published more than fifty works, including diaries, novels, stories and essays. His novella Auf den Marmorklippen [On the Marble Cliffs, 1939] is a thinly veiled critique of the Nazi regime. Tributes by writers of international stature (including Jorge Luis Borges, Bruce Chatwin, and Heiner Müller), as well as visits from European heads of state and government (such as François Mitterrand, Roman Herzog, Helmut Kohl, and Felipe González) have helped secure Jünger a prominent place in intellectual debates across Europe.

In recent years, Jünger is emerging as a hidden ancestor of contemporary theoretical and societal discus­sions. Expert and popular audiences across Europe have become part of this development. This translation competition aims to promote the study of Ernst Jünger’s works in English.

December 11, 2012

Interview with translator of "The Adventurous Heart"

From the Telos Press Blog:

On Translating Ernst Jünger's The Adventurous Heart: An Interview with Thomas Friese
by Maxwell Woods

Ernst Jünger's The Adventurous Heart: Figures and Capriccios is now available for the first time in English translation from Telos Press. Maxwell Woods spoke with the book's translator, Thomas Friese, about the challenges of translating Jünger into English as well as the increasing relevance of the author's writings to our current social and political landscape. Purchase your copy of The Adventurous Heart here.
Maxwell Woods: In your preface to The Adventurous Heart, by Ernst Jünger, you write that "this book hooked me on the author for life." What is it about this particular book that you found so captivating? Do you find yourself returning to this book in your studies of Jünger? Of Jünger's work does this book hold a special place for you?
Thomas Friese: First impressions obviously have special value, and The Adventurous Heart was my first encounter with Jünger. It was an ideal start, since this book is a concise introduction to the worldview of the mature author. Ideally, all new readers would come to Jünger via this book—there are certainly worse ways, which are unfortunately also more common—i.e., through Der Arbeiteror Storms of Steel, or, worse still, through clichéd second-hand opinions.
I was also lucky enough to have encountered Jünger in an open, non-partisan context, among a group of people, the Association Eumeswil of Florence, who had already discovered the author's value and had no political agenda behind that interest. (In fact, my first reading of the book was in Quirino Principe's excellent Italian translation.) Unfortunately many encounter Jünger in a heavily ideological milieu, discolored by political stereotypes, which, whether left or right, equally detract from the true value of the author.