Death in the Trenches

“When a man fell, the others stood together over his corpse; their gazes met, dark and deep. But when death stood over the trenches like a storm cloud, then it was every man for himself: he stood alone in the darkness, howling and crashing surrounding him, blinded by sudden flashes, with nothing in his breast but endless desolation.”

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

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Advice for Anarchists

“Two reefs tower in front of the anarchist. The first, the state, must be overcome, especially in a hurricane, when the waves soar. He ineluctably runs aground on the second one, society, the very image that flickered before him. There is a brief intermezzo between the fall of the legitimate powers and the new legality. Two weeks after Kropotkin’s funeral cortege, in which his corpse had followed the Black Banners, the sailors of Kronstadt were liquidated. This is not to say that nothing had happened in between—Merlino, one of the disillusioned, hit the nail on the head: ‘Anarchism is an experiment.’”
—Ernst Jünger, Eumeswil

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The Advantages of the Night

“The hooting of the owl with its tender wing is more familiar to me than the crowing of the cock. I prefer the strings to the woodwinds. Intermission: that is the darkness. The light feels like a vague scratching; it is malaise rather than pain. I am glad to sink back into darkness.”
—Ernst Jünger, Eumeswil

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Death in the Trenches

“When a man fell, the others stood together over his corpse; their gazes met, dark and deep. But when death stood over the trenches like a storm cloud, then it was every man for himself: he stood alone in the darkness, howling and crashing surrounding him, blinded by sudden flashes, with nothing in his breast but endless desolation.”

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

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Czesław Miłosz on Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain

This article presents the connections between the Polish poet Czesław Miłosz and Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. Miłosz’s fascination with the German novel, which has its roots in the 1930s, changed profoundly over the decades. Not only did the poet ponder on the immense intellectual value of The Magic Mountain, but he also turned to it eagerly as a form of literary “substance” and inspiration for his own works (The Seizure of Power, A Magic Mountain). The novel left deep marks on the author of The Captive Mind, because throughout his whole life he sought references to his own life in the fictitious events and characters from Mann’s story. The chosen fragments of texts and conversations with the Polish poet enable us to investigate the history of the extraordinary connection between Miłosz and this twentieth-century epic masterpiece, indicating at the same time the key moments of this “literary relationship.”

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An Underwhelming Apocalypse: The Islamization of France in Michel Houellebecq’s Submission

Reading the latest novel by Michel Houellebecq, I remembered an essay by Maurice Blanchot that appeared in 1964, entitled “L’Apocalypse déçoit,” roughly translatable as “The Apocalypse Disappoints.” Originally devoted to the intellectual failure on the part of the French intelligentsia to deal with the possibility of nuclear annihilation, the title of that essay seems the perfect commentary to a plot that would sound nothing less than apocalyptic to a very sizable part of contemporary French society: the election of a Muslim president of the French Republic and the Islamization of its civil code. This disastrous occurrence, currently treated in the Western media as nothing less than a catastrophic finis Europae, is narrated by Houellebecq in his increasingly understated voice, now mostly situated halfway between deadpan satire, melancholic brooding, and a touch of occasional melodrama. Gone are the violent Islamic terrorists of Plateforme, the 2001 novel that ended with terrorist attack on European sexual tourists in Thailand. No more spectacular explosions of the 9/11 kind: if the Western way of life will go, it won’t be with a bang, but with a merely audible whimper.

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