Ernst Junger and Germany: Into the Abyss, 1914-1945

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9780822318798: Ernst Junger and Germany: Into the Abyss, 1914-1945
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For most of his life, Ernst Junger, one of Europe's leading twentieth-century writers, has been controversial. Renowned as a soldier who wrote of his experience in the First World War, he has maintained a remarkable writing career that has spanned five periods of modern German history. In this first comprehensive study of Junger in English, Thomas R. Nevin focuses on the writer's first fifty years, from the late Wilhelmine era of the Kaiser to the end of Hitler's Third Reich. By addressing the controversies and contradictions of Junger, a man who has been extolled, despised, denounced, and admired throughout his lifetime, Ernst Junger and Germany also opens an uncommon view on the nation that is, if uncomfortably, represented by him. Ernst Junger is in many ways Germany's conscience, and much of the controversy surrounding him is at its source measured by his relation to the Nazis and Nazi culture. But as Nevin suggests, Junger can more specifically and properly be regarded as the still living conscience of a Germany that existed before Hitler. Although his memoir of service as a highly decorated lieutenant in World War I made him a hero to the Nazis, he refused to join the party. A severe critic of the Weimar Republic, he has often been denounced as a fascist who prepared the way for the Reich, but in 1939 he published a parable attacking despotism. Close to the men who plotted Hitler's assassination in 1944, he narrowly escaped prosecution and death. Drawing largely on Junger's untranslated work, much of which has never been reprinted in Germany, Nevin reveals Junger's profound ambiguities and examines both his participation in and resistance to authoritarianism and the cult of technology in the contexts of his Wilhelmine upbringing, the chaos of Weimar, and the sinister culture of Nazism. Winner of Germany's highest literary awards, Ernst Junger is regularly disparaged in the German press. His writings, as this book indicates, put him at an unimpeachable remove from the Nazis, but neo-Nazi rightists in Germany have rushed to embrace him. Neither apology, whitewash, nor vilification, Ernst Junger and Germany is an assessment of the complex evolution of a man whose work and nature has been viewed as both inspiration and threat.

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Review:

"Nevin's book is essentially a study of Junger's writing rather than of his politics, although it by no means diminishes the importance of the latter and is acute in its analysis and criticism of it."
--Gordon A. Craig," London Review of Books"

"Ernst Junger and Germany is a profound interpretation of Ernst Junger, offering a compelling analysis of this leading literary figure who over the years has often been misinterpreted by scholars, literary critics, and journalists. Readers will emerge with a clear view of Junger's significance as one of the century's leading exponents of the Dionysian impulse married to modern technology. No one can read this book without seeing Junger in a new light."-- Jay W. Baird, author of To Die for Germany

"By dint of his great age, intellect, cultural breadth, and one-time proximity to supreme power, one could argue that Junger is the pre-eminent witness of Europe's history in this century. Thomas Nevin presents an extraordinary picture of an exceptional man and a very important insight into the nature not only of German history in the hundred years of Junger's lifetime but also the modern world."--Hugh Cecil, author of The Flower of Battle: How Britain Wrote the Great War

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""Ernst Junger and Germany" is a profound interpretation of Ernst Junger, offering a compelling analysis of this leading literary figure who over the years has often been misinterpreted by scholars, literary critics, and journalists. Readers will emerge with a clear view of Junger's significance as one of the century's leading exponents of the Dionysian impulse married to modern technology. No one can read this book without seeing Junger in a new light."-- Jay W. Baird, author of "To Die for Germany "

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9780094745605: Ernst Junger And Germany:into The: Into the Abyss, 1939-45

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ISBN 10:  0094745609 ISBN 13:  9780094745605
Publisher: Constable, 1997
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