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.

November 27, 2012

SPIEGEL-Rezension zur Biographie der Brüder Jünger


Symbolfiguren der Rechten. Erst Stahlgewitter, dann saurer Regen

Von Sebastian Hammelehle
Friedrich Georg Jünger: "Im Lauf der Jahrzehnte an Aktualität noch gewinnen"                                  Rudolf Baucken/ Klett-Cotta

Wenige deutschsprachige Schriftsteller sind so umstritten wie Ernst Jünger. Nun hat der frühere "taz"-Redakteur Jörg Magenau eine bemerkenswerte Biografie über den Lieblingsautor der deutschen Rechten verfasst - und entdeckt dessen Bruder Friedrich Georg als Vorläufer der Öko-Bewegung.

Zum originalen Artikel >>>

November 18, 2012

FG Jünger's "The Failure of Technology: as ebook!

A fantastic recent find, which I trust readers will appreciate and help spread the word - an ebook of this classic and essential critique of modern "scientism" and technology, which has been out-of-print and virtually unfindable in English since the 1960's! It was translated in 1950 from the German original: "Die Perfektion der Technik" - which, btw, in German does not have the positive connotation of perfection in English, but simply implies the bringing to completion, to full development.

If you don't know the book, I cannot recommend it too highly! It as insightful as anything his brother Ernst wrote. It contains one of the original environmentalist visions, and its insights into the fundamental shortcomings and illusions of our science and technology have never been surpassed. FGJ gets down to the very heart of the matter, as more recent critiques have not been able to - the superior insight of the author also have been due to his position at a less developed stage of technology, which allowed a more detached, objective perspective.

A must read - spread the word and disseminate the book!

November 13, 2012

Gespräche (x 2):Jörg Magenau über die Brüder Friedrich Georg und Ernst Jünger

Gespräch an der Frankfurter Buchmesse 2012:

Die beiden Brüder Friedrich Georg und Ernst Jünger bildeten eine wahrhaft produktive Lebensgemeinschaft. Bei aller Unterschiedlichkeit ihrer Persönlichkeiten und ihrer intellektuellen Arbeit haben sie unendlich vieles miteinander geteilt – sie waren kampfesmutige Frontsoldaten, nationalistische Sozialrevolutionäre, Nazi-Verächter, Naturforscher, Schriftsteller und Dichter, Weltreisende und vertraute Freunde. Das alles blieb nicht ohne Spannungen, Konflikte und Meinungsdissonanzen, aber am Ende waren sie lebenslang vereint unterm Sternenzelt.

Jörg Magenau hat die Doppelbiographie der Brüder Jünger aus ihren Briefen und Tagebüchern heraus neu ins Licht gerückt. Harro Zimmermann hat mit ihm gesprochen.

Gespräch Deutschlandradiokultur:

Jörg Magenau im Gespräch mit Joachim Scholl

Ernst Jünger, Autor des Kriegsromans "In Stahlgewittern", ist bis heute umstritten. Weniger bekannt ist sein Bruder Friedrich Georg. Dieser sei der "genuinere Schriftsteller" von beiden gewesen, sagt Jörg Magenau, Autor einer neu erschienenen Doppel-Biografie.

Friedrich Georg und Ernst Jünger seien stets eng miteinander verbunden gewesen, sagt Magenau. Ernst, der Zeit seines Lebens einen Ruf als nationalistischer Krieger hatte, habe viel von seinem Bruder profitiert. Dieser sei sehr gebildet gewesen, habe neben philosophischen Werken auch zahlreiche Lyrikbände geschrieben. Die Verbundenheit zeige sich in den zahlreichen Briefen, die die Zeit beider Weltkriege überspannen.

In den 1920er-Jahren seien beide "Pamphletschreiber" gewesen, noch rechtslastiger als die Nationalsozialisten. Als die Nazis allerdings die Macht übernommen hätten, hätten sich beide sofort von ihnen distanziert.

September 1, 2012

EUMESWIL in English - reprint!

I have always maintained that Eumeswil is Ernst Jünger's defining and far and away most important  work. At home I even have three copies of the hardcover English edition (Marsilio Publishers, New York: 1994) - which I picked up for $10 each on the bargain table at a Chapters in Vancouver 10 years ago!

A pity I did not buy everything on the table - as you see below:

If "the market is never wrong", this seems to be a confirmation of my highest opinion of this book.

It should also be an incentive for Marsilio to reprint - or for some other publisher, since the English translation rights in this case seem to have remained with the translator.

In the meantime the impatient reader always has the option to take matters into his own hands and look online for downloadable versions. At these high prices, I cannot imagine that a cult book like this is not available somewhere on the internet for free.

Unfortunately, this phenomenon only seems to be growing. I would pay this much for this book, but I am an exception - I already love the book, and, if need be, I could afford the sacrifice. But many cannot, however much they want to have the book. Such people go online and find free versions - and one can understand their position.

From all perspectives, it would really be time for a reprint!

August 28, 2012

"The Adventurous Heart": Solitary Sentinels

One last appetizer has been conceded by the publishers before this new Jünger translation goes on sale Sept 1....

Solitary Sentinels - Berlin 

Swedenborg condemned the “spiritual stinginess” that locked away his dreams and insights.

But what of the spirit’s contempt for minting and issuing itself into general circulation, what of its aristocratic self-sufficiency in Ariosto’s magical castles? The inexpressible is degraded when it expresses and makes itself communicable; it is like gold that must be mixed with copper to make it useful as currency. A dreamer, attempting to catch his dreams in the light of dawn, watches them slip away through the mesh of his thoughts, like a Neapolitan fishermen watching the fleeing silver shoals that occasionally stray up into the surface waters of the bay.

In the collections of the Leipzig Mineralogical Institute, I once observed a foot-high rock crystal won from the inner depths of the Sankt Gotthard during tunneling work – a most solitary and exclusive dream of matter. Among the things that Nigromontanus taught me was the certain existence among us of a select group of men who have long withdrawn from the libraries and from the dust of the public arena, who are at work in the innermost spaces, in the obscurest of Tibets. He spoke of men who sit alone in nocturnal rooms, immobile as the rock through whose hollows that current flashes, which keeps all the mill-wheels and hordes of machines running in the outside world - but here it is liberated from all purpose and captured by hearts, which, as the hot, trembling cradles of all forces and powers, have withdrawn forever from the outer light.

July 28, 2012

Ernst Jünger - Goethe Preis Rede

Und hier den Radio Vatikan Artikel dazu.

From "The Adventurous Heart": The Combinatorial Inference

One more appetiser from the forthcoming Jünger translation "The Adventurous Heart. Figures and Capriccios". I might be permitted to add one or two more, then it will in any case be September and you can order the book yourselves from Telos Press!

The Combinatorial Inference - Berlin

Higher insight does not live in the separate compartments but in the structure of the world. It corresponds to a mode of thinking that does not move around in isolated and parceled-off truths but rather in meaningful connections, whose power to order lies in its combinatorial faculty.

The tremendous pleasure that comes from engaging with such minds resembles a walk through a landscape distinguished as much by the span of its boundaries as by the richness of its particulars. The viewpoints alternate in a whirl of multiplicity, yet all the while the glance takes them in with an even serenity, never losing itself in abstrusity and malformations or in pettiness and eccentricity. Despite the plethora of variations that the mind is able to generate and the ease with which it can switch fields, it perseveres with effortless rigor in making its connections. Its powers appear to grow as much when it turns from the motif to the execution, as when it returns from execution to motif. Using a variation on Clausewitz’s fine image, we can compare this mode of movement with a walk through a convoluted garden in which we are able from every point to see the high obelisk erected at its center.

July 1, 2012

Drogen-Experimente des Ernst Jünger - radioZeitreise

Von radioZeitreisen (Bayern 2, 01.07.2012) kommt diese kurz und bündige Zusammenfassung des "Annäherung. Drogen und Rausch" (1970) von Ernst Jünger.  Eine wesentliche Seite Jüngers, die fast nie erwähnt wird!

June 28, 2012

From "The Adventurous Heart": Terror

Another short appetiser from the forthcoming publication of The Adventurous Heart: Figures and Capriccios from Telos Press:

Terror - Berlin 

There is a type of thin, broad sheet metal that is often used in small theaters to simulate thunder. I imagine a great many of these metal sheets, yet still thinner and more capable of a racket, stacked up like the pages of a book, one on top of another at regular intervals, not pressed together but kept apart by some unwieldy mechanism.

I lift you up onto the topmost sheet of this mighty pack of cards, and as the weight of your body touches it, it rips with a crack in two. You fall, and you land on the second sheet, which shatters also, with an even greater bang. Your plunge strikes the third, fourth, fifth sheet and so on, and with the acceleration of the fall the impacts chase each other closer and closer, like a drumbeat rising in rhythm and power. Ever more furious grows the plummet and its vortex, transforming into a mighty, rolling thunder that ultimately bursts the limits of consciousness.

June 17, 2012

New publication! "The Adventurous Heart - Figures and Capriccios"

I am at last able to share the happy news that this fall Telos Press will publish the first English translation of "Das Abenteuerliche Herz. Figuren und Capriccios" - as The Adventurous Heart. Figures and Capriccios. The volume will additionally contain the translation Sicilian Letter to the Man in the Moon.

Telos has kindly given me permission to publish a few appetisers in advance. Here's the first:

The Gravel Pit - Goslar

We so reluctantly pick up our own books again because we appear to ourselves as forgers in their regard. We were in Ali Baba’s cave and have only brought a measly handful of silver back to the light of day. There is also a sense of returning to a state that we have since shed like a yellowed snakeskin.

This is what I am going through with these notes that I am opening again for the first time in almost ten years. I am told that for a long while now they have found their fifteen readers or so per quarter with astonishing regularity. A reception like this brings to mind certain flowers, like the Silene noctiflora, whose calyxes, while open a single hour one single night, are orbited by a tiny company of winged visitors.

Nevertheless, precisely this reconsideration of already concluded works has special value for an author – as a rare opportunity to grasp its language as a whole, to some extent with a sculptor’s eye, and to work on it as a single corpus. In this manner, I hope to hit still a little more precisely on what may have captivated the reader. For a start, there should be no economizing on deletions; what is thereby saved can then be filled out from the reserves. A few forbidden pieces that I once put aside might also be appended – because when it comes to spicing a dish, we only gain a sure hand with the course of time.

June 8, 2012

Hörspiel - "Das Abenteuerliche Herz"

SWR Radio Hörspiel "Das Abenteuerliche Herz" - nach Texten von Ernst Jünger. Ursendung 16.02.2012. Etwas übertheatralisch aber trotzdem unterhaltsam.

May 24, 2012

Hauptsache, es knallt! Ernst Jünger und Drogen

Aus der Wochenzeitung Freitag:

Rauschzustand | 15.05.2012 | Sebastian Dörfler

Hauptsache, es knallt! 

Krieg war ihm nicht alles: Ernst Jünger experimentierte auch mit ­Drogen – zusammen mit dem LSD-Erfinder Albert Hofmann.  

In Afrika sollte alles besser werden. Mit 18 Jahren meldete sich Ernst Jünger bei der französischen Fremdenlegion und reiste in den Kontinent, der von der ihm verhassten Zivilisation noch verschont geblieben schien. Hier musste es noch sein, das Wunderbare, das Magische – das Leben, das Wissenschaft, Technik und Maschinen zu Hause auf ein bloßes Funktionieren reduziert hatten.  In Afrika erwartete Jünger das Besondere, und zwar in jeder Ritze. In Algerien angekommen setzte er sich vor den ersten Steinhaufen. Mindestens eine goldene Schlange werde sich schon zeigen, hoffte er. Er wartete, bis es dunkel wurde. Doch es passierte nichts. Der Steinhaufen in Afrika unterscheidet sich nicht von dem in der Lüneburger Heide, hält Jünger in seiner Erzählung Afrikanische Spiele enttäuscht fest – „so begann ich mich zu langweilen.“

May 6, 2012

Intellectual prejudice - quantified and visualised

"What we do here is to judge a 100 year old man based only on what he did between his 19th and, let’s say, 29th year, and everything that he wrote in the next 70 years is not even mentioned."
Rolf Hochhuth, Baden Badener Dichterclub, 1995

"Was wir machen hier ist einen hundert jährigen allein zu betrachten, nachdem was er zwischen seinen 19sten und, sagen wir, 29sten Jahr geschrieben hat, und die ganze Sachen, die er in den letzten 70 Jahren geschrieben hat, die werden hier gar nicht genannt."
Rolf Hochhuth, Baden Badener Dichterclub, 1995.

Francois Mitterand to Ernst Jünger on his 100th birthday - 1995

"Here is a man who is free. 
Embroiled to the point of risking his life in the turmoil of the century, he held himself apart from his passions. Nothing can appropriate his name, nor his gaze, except perhaps that butterfly in Pakistan now called "Trachydura Jüngeri", which is his pride. Because this rebel chases glow-worms, this soldier writes novels. A philosopher, he possesses an appetite for living, which time has not wearied. Few life works are more diverse, few minds more restless. As inheritor of Goethe, of Hölderlin and Nietzsche, but also of Stendhal, Jünger's thought unites the riches of the Enlightenment with those of Romanticism, the rigour of the one with the generosity of the other.
His thought challenges fashions and attracts disputes. Lovers of systems hanker in vain to find them in it. Truth is to be sought in it like an equilibrium amid contrary forces. Between engagement and resistance, respect for the real and rejection of the predestined, Jünger charts the space of human freedom and its authentic struggles. Because its origins lie in its enthusiasm for life, it contemplates and faces contradictions: between mind and matter, nature and history, reason and dream.

May 5, 2012

May 1, 2012

Filmessay über Jünger: Das Abenteuerliche Herz (1993)

Und ich habe auch einen deutschen Filmessay über Ernst Jünger auf Youtube gefunden - sehr unterhaltsam! Und auch ziemlich aufschlussreich.


Swedish documentary on Jünger - now in English!

The Swedish documentary on Ernst Jünger, previously only available in Swedish, has recently appeared on Youtube with English subtitles. Enjoy!

April 25, 2012

Ernst Jünger's "On the Marble Cliffs" as a parable of staying true to yourself

From Politosophia, a Russian website I stumbled upon, a nice English summary of "On the Marble Cliffs", with an original and excellent take on one important message of the book in its title - how to stay true to yourself. Thank you, Olena!

15 квітня 2012 15:03

Olena Semenyaka
National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”
"There are periods of decline when the pattern fades to which our inmost life must conform. When we enter upon them we sway and lose our balance. From hollow joy we sink to leaden sorrow, and past and future acquire a new charm from our sense of loss. So we wander aimlessly in the irretrievable past or in distant Utopias; but the fleeting moment we cannot grasp."
"So I swear to myself in the future to fall alone in freedom rather than to accompany the servants on the path to triumph."
- Ernst Jünger "Auf den Marmorklippen" ("On the Marble Cliffs," 1939)
In the "Afterword" (notes) to his novel written in 1972 Ernst Jünger remarked that the book was noticed far beyond Germany and was re-published in Riga and Paris at Army's expense (the German publishers, naturally, had problems with Goebbels' censorship). He also mentioned rumors about pirate editions in Ukraine and Latvia, which spread soon after the end of war, although the first official translation beyond the Iron Curtain appeared in 1971 in Bucharest.