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 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

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.