April 18, 2019

The Path to a Higher Freedom - review of The Forest Passage by Ernst Jünger


The Path to a Higher Freedom

This review appears in the Summer 2014 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe now, go here.
Download PDF version here.

The Forest Passage by Ernst Jünger, trans. Thomas Friese
(Candor, NY: Telos Press, 2013)


This is a book about freedom. It was first published in 1951 as a response to the Nazi experience and the perceived threat of Soviet expansion. Its explicit focus was resistance to the totalitarian state. Yet its implicit focus is resistance to all forms of social control, including the soft totalitarianism of present-day mass democracy. And this why Ernst Jünger’s classic remains relevant today, and that is why Telos Press has reissued it.

Ernst Jünger (1895–1998) was twentieth-century Germany’s most prolific author. He was also the most controversial. He was a highly decorated soldier in World War 1 who first gained literary fame writing about his war experiences. Jünger aligned himself with the political Right during the 1920s and 1930s and wrote scathing attacks against the Weimar regime and the decadence of liberal democracy and communism. He championed a German nationalism based on aristocratic and martial values.

His early writings gained him a reputation as a fascist and militarist, an image that haunted him for the rest of his long literary career. But Jünger distanced himself from Hitler and the Nazis early on, realizing that the political Right and Left differed little; both led to totalitarianism. The war and Germany’s defeat changed Jünger’s perspective even more. His militarist leanings changed to an existential quest—a way to find freedom in the modern world, in which the mechanisms of total social control continued to multiply.

April 3, 2019

March 19, 2019

Conversazioni 2019 - Programma dell'Associazione Eumeswil

Invito da ASSOCIAZIONE EUMESWIL al programma delle conversazioni e corsi 2019 a Firenze:

I GRANDI INTERROGATIVI

Cosa sono: 12 conversazioni. Ciascun incontro è tenuto almeno da due interlocutori.
  • 6 domande a carattere esistenziale-metafisico
  • 6 domande a carattere sociale
Da chi sono tenute: docenti universitari, studiosi, scrittori, giornalisti
Dove: in un salotto informale, un salotto letterario come in epoche passate. Centro studi Eumeswil, Via S. Ammirato, 43
Quando: da marzo a dicembre 2019 
Orario: 18.00
Ingresso: ad offerta libera cartacea

Per saperne di più:
www.eumeswil.cc

Cordialmente,
Segreteria, Associazione Eumeswil

MARZO

Mercoledì 20
Abbiamo avuto una vita precedente?
Relatori: Giuliano Boccali e Premakumar Das (Pierpaolo Marras)

Giovedì 28
Che cos’è l’Io?
Relatori: Massimo Bacigalupo e Fausto Malcovati

APRILE

Sabato 6
Che cos’è l’autorealizzazione?
Relatori: Giovanni Sessa e Massimo Jevolella

January 23, 2019

Review: A German Officer in Occupied France. Ernst Jünger's War Journals 1941-1945

I enjoyed this review by Michael Dirda in the Washingon Post of the recent publication of Jünger's War Journals 1941-1945 (Strahlungen) into English. One more not-insignificant work to chip away at the mountain that has not yet been translated! A collection of further reviews here.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/a-fascinating-look-inside-the-journal-of-a-controversial-german-war-hero/2019/01/16/5897c326-18d2-11e9-8813-cb9dec761e73_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a4ee0097efb2As a teenager hungering for adventure, Ernst Jünger ran away from school in 1913 and joined the French Foreign Legion. His father eventually retrieved his delinquent child from North Africa, just in time for the 19-year-old to enlist in World War I. Over the next four years, Jünger would be wounded in action 14 times and, in 1918, be awarded the Pour le Mérite, Germany’s equivalent to our Medal of Honor. He remains the youngest man ever so honored.

In 1920, Jünger published “Storm of Steel,” an extraordinary memoir of his battle experiences. (I recommend Michael Hofmann’s translation for Penguin.) Like T.E. Lawrence’s near-contemporary “Seven Pillars of Wisdom,” the book views war from an almost Homeric perspective, celebrating the martial virtues of courage, comradeship and steadfastness; it is dedicated, apolitically, “For the fallen.” In the years following its publication, Jünger completed an astonishing self-transformation into an exceptionally well-read and cosmopolitan intellectual, one particularly passionate about French culture, entomology, mysticism and philosophy. While his political bent was distinctly right-wing, he resisted the era’s virulent anti-Semitism and never joined the Nazi Party. His allegorical 1939 novel, “On the Marble Cliffs,” is frequently read as a critique of Hitler.