TELOSscope: The Telos Press Blog

In the Midst of Battle

“He tried to imagine how he looked: a trembling bundle in a torn uniform, with a blackened, sweat-streaked face and staring eyes. . . . He stood and tried to calm his nerves through a series of curses. He thought he had talked himself back into heroism, when a new and even more terrible impact hurled him back into his hole. A second that followed immediately upon the first broke off a huge piece of the trench wall and almost buried him. He writhed free from the mass of earth and ran along the trench. No man could be seen at his post. Once he stumbled over a heap of debris under which lay a dead body. Somehow, a long, jagged board had penetrated his body; his eyes, glassy and bulging, stood out of their sockets.”

—Ernst Jünger, Sturm, describing the Battle of the Somme, whose centenary is this year.

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“An unblinking account of a culture in twilight, this novella recasts central themes of Ernst Jünger’s chronicles of the Great War: the unrelenting test of human perdurance under new technologies of annihilation; the naturalist’s precise aesthetic of life teeming amid martial insanity; and, a new note, the harrowing free fall of civilian life into erotic aimlessness and inebriated despair, for which only art serves for an antidote. In Alexis Walker’s carefully wrought translation, Sturm will be a welcome surprise to Jünger’s veteran readers, and an ideal introduction for those who are curious to know more than his name.”
Thomas Nevin, author of Ernst Jünger and Germany: Into the Abyss, 1914–1945

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