Advertisement

The Last Second, or Eternity: Ernst Jünger Looking at Photographs of the First World War

  • Stéphane SymonsEmail author
  • Tammy Castelein
Chapter

Abstract

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the famous German writer Ernst Jünger contributed to the publication of a couple of photography books. These collections of photographic images and essays, written by various authors, dealt with themes including war, sacrifice, death, violence, heroism and Luchtfahrt. In this chapter, we will analyze, amongst other texts by Jünger, his contribution to the volume Das Antlitz des Weltkrieges from 1930 entitled, Krieg und Lichtbild and his introduction to the book Krieg und Krieger.We will gauge the relationship between Jünger’s philosophy of danger on the one hand and his philosophy of violence on the other, ultimately underscoring his suggestion that the moment of danger can endow the confrontation with violence with a specific type of meaning. In other words: the central argument of our contribution is that Jünger, who is often overlooked in philosophy, has an important point to make concerning the relation between meaning and violence. Inserting Jünger’s concepts of nihilism and his view of photography into the discussion, our chapter will build on an analysis of both texts and images. Together, these texts and images will provide a further insight into Jünger’s suggestion that violence can have redemptive qualities.

Bibliography

  1. Barthes, R. (1981). Camera Lucida. Reflections on Photography (R. Howard, Trans.). New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
  2. Benjamin, W. (1999a). Little History of Photography. In M. W. Jennings, H. Eiland, & G. Smith (Eds.), Selected Writings (Vol. 2). Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Benjamin, W. (1999b). Theories of German Fascism. On the Collection of Essays War and Warriors, Edited by Ernst Jünger. In M. W. Jennings, H. Eiland, & G. Smith (Eds.), Selected Writings (Vol. 2). Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Benjamin, W. (1999c). Trauerspiel and Tragedy. In M. Bullock & M. W. Jennings (Eds.), Selected Writings (Vol. 1). Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Berger, J. (2013). Understanding a Photograph. In G. Dyer (Ed.), Understanding a Photograph. New York: Aperture.Google Scholar
  6. Blok, V. (2017). Ernst Jünger’s Philosophy of Technology. Heidegger and the Poetics of the Anthropocene. New York/London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bullock, M. P. (1992). The Violent Eye. Ernst Jünger’s Visions and Revisions on the European Right. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bullock, M. P. (1998). Walter Benjamin and Ernst Jünger: Destructive Affinities. German Studies Review, 21(3), 563–581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Capeloa Gil, I. (2010). The Visuality of Catastrophe in Ernst Jünger’s Der Gefährliche Augenblick and Die Veränderte Welt. KulturPoetik, 10(1), 62–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dyer, G. (2018, July 24). How to Photograph Eternity. The New York Times.Google Scholar
  11. Flusser, V. (2012). Towards a Philosophy of Photography. London: Reaktion Books.Google Scholar
  12. Jünger, E. (1922, revised in 1926). ‘Der Kampf als inneres Erlebnis’ in Betrachtungen zur Zeit. Sämtliche Werke 9. Essays 1. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1995.Google Scholar
  13. Jünger, E. (1927). Die Schicksalszeit. In S. O. Berggötz (Ed.), Politische Publizistik. 1919 bis 1933. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 2001.Google Scholar
  14. Jünger, E. (1928a). Luftfahrt Ist Not!: Vorwort. In S. O. Berggötz (Ed.), Politische Publizistik. 1919 bis 1933. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 2001.Google Scholar
  15. Jünger, E. (1928b). ‘Nachwort’ to Die Unvergessenen. In S. O. Berggötz (Ed.), Politische Publizistik. 1919 bis 1933. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 2001.Google Scholar
  16. Jünger, E. (1930a). ‘Das grosse Bild des Krieges’ printed in Das Antlitz des Weltkrieges. In S. O. Berggötz (Ed.), Politische Publizistik. 1919 bis 1933. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 2001.Google Scholar
  17. Jünger, E. (1930b). ‘Krieg und Technik’ printed in Das Antlitz des Weltkrieges. In S. O. Berggötz (Ed.), Politische Publizistik. 1919 bis 1933. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 2001.Google Scholar
  18. Jünger, E. (1931a). ‘Einleitung: Über die Gefahr’ printed in Der gefährliche Augenblick. In S. O. Berggötz (Ed.), Politische Publizistik. 1919 bis 1933. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 2001.Google Scholar
  19. Jünger, E. (1931b). Hier Spricht der Feind: Einleitung. In S. O. Berggötz (Ed.), Politische Publizistik. 1919 bis 1933. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 2001.Google Scholar
  20. Jünger, E. (1933). ‘Einleitung’ to Die veränderte Welt. In S. O. Berggötz (Ed.), Politische Publizistik. 1919 bis 1933. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 2001.Google Scholar
  21. Jünger, E. (1934). ‘Über den Schmerz’ in Blätter und Steine. Hamburg: Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt.Google Scholar
  22. Kracauer, S. (1932, October 16). Gestaltschau oder Politik? Frankfurter Zeitung, No. 774–776; Reprinted in I. Mülder-Bach (Ed.), S. Kracauer. Schriften. Vol. 5: 3. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1990.Google Scholar
  23. Kracauer, S. (1995). Photography. In T. Y. Levin (Ed.), The Mass Ornament. Weimar Essays. Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Werneburg, B., & Phillips, C. (1992). Ernst Jünger and the Transformed World. October, 62, 42–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.KU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Independent Scholar and TranslatorLeuvenBelgium

Personalised recommendations