February 7, 2013

Ninety Flown By - The Author Ernst Jünger

Ernst Jünger (29 March 1895 – 17 February 1998) was a German writer. In addition to his political essays, novels and diaries, he is well known for Storm of Steel, an account of his experience during World War I.
His war experiences are first described in Storm of Steel (German title: In Stahlgewittern) which Jünger self-published in 1920. This book, by which Jünger became suddenly famous, has been seen as glorifying war. Jünger served as a lieutenant in the army of the Weimar Republic until his demobilisation in 1923. He studied marine biology, zoology, botany, and philosophy, and became a well-known entomologist. In Germany, an important entomological prize is named after him: the Ernst-Jünger-Preis für Entomologie.

In the 1920s Jünger published articles in several right-wing nationalist journals, and further novels. As in Storm of Steel, in the book Feuer und Blut (1925, Fire and Blood), Jünger glorified war as an internal event. According to Jünger, war elevates the soldier's life, isolated from normal humanity, into a mystical experience. The extremities of modern military techniques tested the capacity of the human senses. He criticized the fragile and unstable democracy of the Weimar Republic, stating that he "hated democracy like the plague." Although never a member of the National Socialist movement around Adolf Hitler, Jünger never publicly criticized the regime before the war. Jünger, however, refused a chair offered to him in the Reichstag following the Nazi Party's ascension to power in 1933, and he refused the invitation to head the German Academy of Literature (Die deutsche Akademie der Dichtung). Even though he never endorsed the Nazi Party, and indeed kept them at a careful distance, Jünger's Storm of Steel sold well into the six-figure range by the end of the 1930s. In the essay On Pain, written and published in 1934, Jünger rejects the liberal values of liberty, security, ease, and comfort, and seeks instead the measure of man in the capacity to withstand pain and sacrifice.
One of his most important literary contributions was the metahistoric figure of the Anarch (sovereign individual), which evolved from his earlier conception of the Waldgaenger, or Forest Fleer. The anarch is Jünger's answer to the question of survival of individual freedom in a totalitarian world. It is developed primarily through the character of Martin Venator in his novel Eumeswil.

Jünger's 100th birthday on 29 March 1995, was met with praise from many quarters, including the socialist French president François Mitterrand.

Jünger was a friend of Martin Heidegger. Jünger was admired by Julius Evola who published a book called L'Operaio nel pensiero di Ernst Juenger (1960), in which he summarized The Worker.

Despite the controversy surrounding his life, Jünger said he never regretted anything he wrote, nor would he ever take it back.

Yet, he joined Chancellor Helmut Kohl and President François Mitterrand of France at a 1984 Franco-German ceremony at Verdun, France, where he called the ideology of war in Germany before and after World War I "a calamitous mistake."
 Ninety Flown By - The Author Ernst Jünger. Part 1:

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