Ernst Jünger Criticism - Essay

Louis Clair (review date 27 March 1948)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of On the Marble Cliffs, in The Nation, Vol. 166, No. 13, March 27, 1948, pp. 357-58.

[In the following review, Clair asserts that Jünger's On the Marble Cliffs "is an anti-Nazi document, but it is also one of the most beautiful novels of imagination of modern Germany, an allegory in the grand symbolist manner of the death of a civilization."]

Somewhere in a mythical landscape, high above the marble cliffs, on the edge of a fertile valley, two brothers—retired army officers—have settled after a lost war. Below in the peaceful countryside an industrious and quiet people tills its fields; farther on lives a rude yet hospitable tribe of...

(The entire section is 949 words.)

H. F. Peters (essay date Spring 1958)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Ernst Jünger's Concern with E. A. Poe," in Comparative Literature, Vol. X, No. 2, Spring, 1958, pp. 144-49.

[In the following essay, Peters discusses the theme of terror in the works of Jünger and Edgar Allen Poe.]

Frequent references to E. A. Poe in the works of Ernst Jünger, particularly in those written during and after World War II, raise two questions: First, what is it that attracts Jünger and Poe? And second, has Jünger's interest in Poe influenced his own writings? This paper addresses itself to the first question. Concerning the second, let me simply say that I do not think it is possible to trace any direct influences of Poe on Jünger....

(The entire section is 2385 words.)

John K. Cooley (essay date Autumn 1958)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Adventures of Ernst Jünger," in Books Abroad, Vol. 32, No. 4, Autumn, 1958, pp. 365-68.

[In the following essay, Cooley traces the place of adventure in Jünger's life and work.]

Ernst Jünger's career as an author has been built around the search for adventure. With Germany, he found what he sought in war, and was finally appalled by the consequences. With her, too, he has struggled with the spirit of nihilism, both in the acute political form to which the German people fell prey between 1918 and 1945, and in the private realm of his own life. From his later books it appears that he feels both struggles to have been successful, at least temporarily....

(The entire section is 2256 words.)

Arthur R. Evans, Jr. (essay date 1978)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Ernst Jünger's Auf den Marmorklippen: a sketch toward an interpretation," in Symbolism and Modern Literature, edited by Marcel Tetel, Duke University Press, 1978, pp. 26-43.

[In the following essay, Evans, Jr. discusses the plot and philosophy behind Jünger's Auf den Marmorklippen, and asserts that Jünger believes "in the power of civilizing energies to overcome evil."]

Ernst Jünger's allegorical novel depicts a model of world harmony, a cosmos destroyed by brutish, anarchical forces. It opens on a nostalgic note, evoking the poignant memories of a way of life founded on fraternity, civil order, the rhythm of nature, and a respect for the...

(The entire section is 6593 words.)

Marcus Bullock (essay date Fall 1986)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Ernst Jünger: Literature, Warfare and the Intoxication of Philosophy," in Mosaic, Vol. XIX, No. 4, Fall, 1986, pp. 107-19.

[In the following essay, Bullock explores Jünger's ideas about the use of drugs and intoxication in intellectual thought.]

When the editors of Mircea Eliade's Festschrift of 1969 at the University of Chicago Press asked Ernst Jünger to contribute an essay on the use of drugs as an agency in the exploration of human consciousness, their choice reflected the general recognition of a place to which he has long held undisputed claim in Europe. He is without doubt the most solidly established and authoritative literary voice on that...

(The entire section is 6711 words.)

Russell A. Berman (essay date 1989)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Written Right Across Their Faces: Ernst Jünger's Fascist Modernism," in Modernity and the Text: Revisions of German Modernism, edited by Andreas Huyssen and David Bathrick, Columbia University Press, 1989, pp. 60-80.

[In the following essay, Berman discusses the fascist representation of Leni Riefenstahl's film Triumph of the Will and the fascist modernism of Jünger's The Worker.]

If the will triumphs, who loses? Triumph of the Will, Leni Riefenstahl's cinematic account of the 1934 Nazi Party convention at Nuremberg, is one of the few aesthetic monuments of German fascism that have attracted serious critical scrutiny. In scene after scene one...

(The entire section is 7633 words.)

David Ohana (essay date 1989)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Nietzsche and Ernst Jünger: From Nihilism to Totalitarianism," in History of European Ideas, Vol. 11, 1989, pp. 751-58.

[In the following essay, Ohana analyzes how "the modern Jüngerian vision of technology led towards a new political form of totalitarian nihilism."]

The aesthetic-nihilistic revolution in western culture initiated by Nietzsche in the nineteenth century was transformed by Ernst Jünger into a modern vision of technology and a new political pattern of totalitarian nihilism. Over and above 'nihilism' and 'totalitarianism' as such, there is an additional dialectical phenomenon, namely a synthesis of both concepts: the nihilist mentality, whether...

(The entire section is 3156 words.)

E. Keller (essay date May 1992)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "A German-French Encounter: Ernst Jünger and Rimbaud," in AUMLA, No. 77, May, 1992, pp. 56-63.

[In the following essay, Keller traces the influence of Rimbaud's "Le Bateau ivre" on Jünger's work.]

Looking back to the First World War, Jünger documents his enthusiasm for Rimbaud's 'Le Bateau ivre' in recalling a visit of two fellow officers, to whom he read Rimbaud's poem, which, as he notes, occupied him greatly at that time. One of these officers was Werner von Fritsch who, twenty years later, rose to celebrity in the so-called Fritsch-Krise, as one of the first prominent opponents of Hitler's aggressive policies and one of the politician's first victims...

(The entire section is 2039 words.)

Eils Lotozo (review date 22 November 1992)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "A Booming Necropolis," in New York Times Book Review, Vol. 97, November 22, 1992. p. 24.

[In the following review, Lotozo praises Jünger's Aladdin's Problem.]

He has been recognized as one of the great figures of 20th-century German letters, yet after more than 70 years and 50 books the work of Ernst Jünger—who is still writing at the age of 97—remains largely untranslated into English. A political philosopher who is difficult to categorize, Mr. Jünger is best known for his futuristic novels, including The Glass Bees, Eumeswil, Heliopolis and On the Marble Cliffs, which was published in 1942, while its author was serving as a captain in...

(The entire section is 506 words.)

Thomas McGonigle (review date 7 February 1993)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Witness to the Century," in Washington Post Book World, February 7, 1993, p. 11.

[In the following review, McGonigle discusses Jünger's Aladdin's Problem and asserts that "through the power of fiction and the authority of a long life's experience, Jünger makes us take with appropriate seriousness his observations about the modern world."]

At 97, Ernst Jünger is both Germany's and Europe's oldest and most distinguished writer. Unfortunately he is little-known in the United States. But in a long and adventurous life Jünger has been able to fulfill two-thirds of the famous prescription of Baudelaire: "There are but three beings worthy of respect: the...

(The entire section is 805 words.)

Ian Buruma (review date 24 June 1993)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Anarch at Twilight," in The New York Review of Books, Vol. 40, June 24, 1993, pp. 27-30.

[In the following review, Buruma traces Jünger's political and intellectual thought throughout his career and in his novels Aladdin's Problem and A Dangerous Encounter.]

Ernst Jünger will be ninety-eight this year. He was smaller than I imagined. But he looks fit and still remarkably handsome. His head is crowned with thick, white hair, brushed forward, giving his rather hawkish face the sculpted air of a marble Roman senator. Jünger begins each day by jotting down his dreams. Then he takes a cold bath. He recently had a dream about Hitler.


(The entire section is 5675 words.)

E. Keller (essay date May 1994)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Wrestling with an Old Trauma: Ernst Jünger's Changing Perception of Destructiveness," in AUMLA, No. 81, May, 1994, pp. 21-31.

[In the following essay, Keller discusses the place of destructiveness and compassion in Jünger's work.]

Destructiveness is one theme which is ever present in the work of Ernst Jünger from In Stahlgewittern to Eine gefährliche Begegnung. It dominates the first of these texts and is critically assessed in the latter, indicating that division in Jünger's work at which he had hinted in his diary entry of 16 September 1942. There he had made the less than modest remark that he considered his books on the First World War,...

(The entire section is 2123 words.)

Thomas McGonigle (review date 1 May 1994)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Deadly Details and Rules for Living," in Chicago Tribune, May 1, 1994, p. 6.

[In the following excerpt, McGonigle asserts that in Eumeswil "Jünger is concerned solely with attempting to answer the question: How is one to live?"]

… Ernst Jünger's Eumeswil is the distillation of its author's search for a basis upon which to build a life of integrity so as to survive the ever-present totalitarian temptations.

Still little known in America, Jünger, who will be 100 years old next year, may be Europe's most important living writer. Bringing the authority of his career and life to everything he writes, he has been able to fulfill...

(The entire section is 822 words.)