“Today words like ‘persevere’ and ‘hero’s death’ had been so ceaselessly bandied about that they had long since acquired an ironic sound—at least wherever there was actual fighting. . . . Once, before an attack, Sturm had heard an old sergeant say the following: ‘Kids, we’re going over there now to gobble up the Englishmen’s rations.’ It was the best battle address that he had ever heard. That was surely something good in the war—that it destroyed glorious-sounding phrases. Concepts that hung fleshless in the void were overcome by laughter.”
—Ernst Jünger, Sturm, describing the Battle of the Somme, whose centenary is this year.
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“The rediscovery of Ernst Jünger’s Sturm, abandoned by its author after its first publication in 1923, significantly alters our understanding of Jünger’s place in modern European literature. The literary and aesthetic moments, frequently seen as secondary in Jünger’s early work, turn out to be constitutive from the very beginning. While the plot deals with the experience of war in 1916, Sturm‘s ultimate concern is the possibility of radical modern art under conditions of extreme violence.”
—Peter Uwe Hohendahl, Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of German Studies and Comparative Literature, Cornell University