Where did you find so many stories, Master Ludovico?


part of one line from the famous Goethian poem, “Primal Words, Orphic” (



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18 Jünger quotes only part of one line from the famous Goethian poem, “Primal Words, Orphic” (Urworte Orphisch, 1817), which begins as follows: “So musst du sein, dir kannst du nich entfliehen”, “Thus must you be, from self there is no remission.”, Goethe, Selected Poems, tr. John Whaley, Northwestern University Press, Evanston, 1998, p. 123. [Footnote modified by American translator to provide English translation and its source].

19 An English translation directly from the German original of this chapter is available online (as of March 2016) at: https://www.erowid.org/plants/plants_article1.shtml [American translator’s note].

20 Jünger thought that he could detect in the composite word All-Einigkeit (the unity of the whole) an echo of the adjective allein (alone), which was in turn formed from all (the whole) and ein (one).

21 In English in the original [American translator’s note].

22 On the possible use of ergot in the Eleusinian Mysteries, see the now-classic study by G. Wasson, A. Hofmann and C. A. Ruck, The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries (Ethno-Mycological Studies No. 4), Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, 1978.

23 A play on words involving ver-zwiefeln (to lose hope), Verzweiflung (desperation) and Zweifel (doubt). The prefix ver-, added to a verb, can mean both the consummation as well as the intensification of an action. Therefore, ver-zweifeln is equivalent to, according to Jünger, “to vehemently doubt” [dubitare fortiter].

24 See Gottfried Benn, “Provoked Life: An Essay On The Anthropology Of The Ego”, tr. Ralph Metzler, The Psychedelic Review, No. 1 (1963), p. 1. This essay was written in the early 1940s, and can be considered to be a trailblazing work in contemporary reflections on ecstatic intoxication. See Enrique Ocaña, El Dioniso moderno y la farmacia utópica, Anagram, Barcelona, 1993, pp. 86-137. [Benn’s essay from The Psychedelic Review is available online (March 2016) at the website of the Lycaeum (http://www.lycaeum.org/wiki/Main_Page). American translator’s supplementary note.]

25 Jules Boissière (1863-1896), French poet and world traveler, became acquainted with opium during his many visits to Indochina. Possessing vast knowledge of the native culture, he recounted his experiences with opium in two autobiographical chronicles: Propos d’un intoxiqué and Fumeurs d’opium. Jean Cocteau introduced Jünger to the latter literary jewel during the period of the German occupation of Paris. See E. Jünger, Radiaciones I, tr. Andrés Sánchez Pascual, Tusquets Editores (Andanzas 98/1), Barcelona, 1989, p. 285.

26 See Section 197 and our note on the veiled allusion to the Napoleonic “consomption forte” in The Adventurous Heart.

27 Schiller.

28 An allusion to Goethe’s ballad, “The Treasure Hunter” (Der Schatzgräber), written in 1797, whose final stanza is as follows: “‘Pure life's courage drink!’ cried he: / ‘This advice to prize then learn,-- / Never to this place return / Trusting in thy spells absurd; / Dig no longer fruitlessly. / Guests by night, and toil by day! / Weeks laborious, feast-days gay! / Be thy future magic-word!’”.

29 An untranslatable play on words involving “nostalgia” (Sehnsucht), “addiction” (Sucht) and the verb “to seek” (suchen).

30 Homer, Odyssey, Book XXI [lines 317-322, from Pope’s translation published in 1745].

31 Jünger uses the plural form of the term Einstieg, which literally means “rise” or “ascent”. On the other hand, however, the verb einsteigen also means to get into a vehicle, to board a train, for instance. This is why, in some contexts, we have translated it as “journey”. The expression Einstiegsdroge, however, designates “soft” drugs that are used by the consumer as a vehicle of initiation in order to later ascend to another type of substance that is allegedly stronger or harder. The “theory” that inspires this concept is unsustainable from a pharmacological point of view. See Arman Sahihi, Drogen von A-Z. Ein Handwörterbuch, Beltz, Basel, 1999, p. 57. [In English, of course, the term commonly used to describe these “soft” drugs is “gateway drugs”—American translator’s note].

32 A Prussian version of the boy scouts, the Wandervögel—literally, “migrating birds”, or “birds on the wing”—was a youth movement that arose around the turn of the 20th century, which combined camping trips with nationalist ideology, a romantic nature cult, and the rejection of bourgeois morality.

33 At first, in the 12th century, the term “Goliard” was applied to sybaritic young priests and monks, most of whom were university students in France, Italy and Germany, who composed and performed irreverent, satirical poetry and plays; in the later Middle Ages, the word became synonymous with “wandering minstrel” or “jongleur” and lost its clerical connotations.

34 Mumme, a malt beer that has borne the name of its brewer, Christian Mumme, since 1489.

35 A ritual that consisted of tracing a circle on the table three times with the bottom of the beer mug before drinking.

36In die Kanne gehen!” was an order proclaimed in the student associations for drinking as a group from the stein.

37 Court jester at the court of Karl Philipp von der Pfalz in Heidelberg, ca. 1720, mentioned by J.V. von Scheffel in connection with his impressive capacity for drinking wine.

38 From the first verse of “The Soul of Wine”: “One night, the soul of wine was singing in the flask: / ‘O man, dear disinherited! to you I sing / This song full of light and of brotherhood / From my prison of glass with its scarlet wax seals’.” Charles Baudelaire, The Flowers of Evil, tr. William Aggeler, Academy Library Guild, Fresno, 1954.

39 In English in the original [American translator’s note].

40 The Holy Bible, Daniel 14:1-22.

41 From Goethe’s poem, “Primal Words, Orphic” (Urworte Orphisch, 1817), Selected Poems, tr. John Whaley, Northwestern University Press, Evanston, 1998, p. 123.

42 In Spanish in the original.

43 From Plato’s Protagoras, p. 211 of the Loeb edition: “… it seems to me that arguing about poetry is comparable to the wine-parties of common market-folk. These people, owing to their inability to carry on a familiar conversation over their wine by means of their own voices and discussions—such is their lack of education—put a premium on flute-girls by hiring the extraneous voice of the flute at a high price, and carry on their intercourse by means of its utterance. But where the party consists of thorough gentlemen who have had a proper education, you will see neither flute-girls nor dancing-girls nor harp-girls, but only the company contenting themselves with their own conversation, and none of these fooleries and frolics—each speaking and listening decently in his turn, even though they may drink a great deal of wine.” [American translator’s note]

44 Schwund (“depletion or reduction”) and Weissung (“whitening or the reduction of the various colors to white”) are recurrent terms in Jünger. See note 3 and E. Jünger, La tijera, tr. Andrés Sánchez Pascual, Tusquets Editores (Ensayo 18), Barcelona, 1993, p. 224.

45 Singular: godi. One of the leading chieftains of Iceland, who played a multi-faceted role that embraced not just political but also religious functions during the early days of the settlement.

46 The reader will find a literary recreation of these anomalous states of consciousness, set precisely in the environment of the Nordic wilderness, in A Visit to Godenholm (1952). Inspired by a series of psychedelic experiences shared with A. Hofmann in the 1950s, this brief account uses elements of Nordic mythology as a backdrop for an inner journey to the “home” (Holm) of the “gods” (Goden). See E. Jünger, A Visit to Godenholm, tr. Juan Conesa Sánchez, Alianza Editorial, Madrid, 1983, p. 67 et seq., concerning the extraordinary perception of external sounds.

47 The original title of this chapter is Zum Grobianismus. In German, Grobian is the name of a comic figure, inspired by the names of saints like Cassian and Cyprian, and was coined by Sebastian Brant (1457-1521) in The Ship of Fools, based on the adjective grob (coarse, vulgar, uncouth). Brant’s invention led during the 15th century to a subgenre of literature called grobianismus.

48 An untranslatable play in words, involving Barenhäuter (bearskin, that is, a lazybones, a slothful person) and der den Bären erlegt (bear hunter). The relation between beer, Germans, lazybones and hunters might have been suggested to Jünger by, apart from the Germania of Tacitus, Wilhelm Ruer’s composition, Tacitus and the Ancient Germans, composed in 1872 for the Bierzeitung der Leipziger Burschenschaft Dresdensia: “on a summer afternoon/in the shadows of the sacred grove/lying on bearskins/on both banks of the Rhine/the tribes of the ancient Germans…./They lie around on skins of bears./And drink together endlessly.”

49 Schiss means both “excrement of a small animal” and, in student jargon, “to chicken out”. With the prefix an- it calls to mind in the speaker of German an association with the verb, Anschiessen, “to shoot someone, wounding him, but without killing him”.

50 An obscene song with many different verses, famous in the folklore of German students.

51 Jünger is referring to Chapter XV of the Germania of Tacitus.

52 The Komment was the code of the goliards that regulated compulsory drinking.

53 A verse from “Wine and the Murderer”, from The Flowers of Evil: “Here I am free and all alone! / I’ll get blind drunk tonight; / then without fear, and without remorse, / I’ll lie down on the ground”. Charles Baudelaire, “The Murderer’s Wine”, in The Flowers of Evil, tr. William Aggeler, Academy Library Guild, Fresno, 1954.

54 This saying, much appreciated by Frederick II, refers to death’s horse, according to the book of Revelations (VI, 8): “And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him.”

55 The last verse of Baudelaire’s poem, “The Wine of the Solitary”, op. cit.

56 An den Rändern des Unvermessenen: that is, on the border of lands without topographical limits, without measure, therefore virgin or wild; lands that do not know a limit, measure or moderation. He already concluded his book, Over the Line, with the following words, directed at Heidegger: “Now we find ourselves in the immeasurable (im Unvermessenen). Here, safety is minimal, but there is more hope of obtaining good fruits…. But there is also the possibility of failure.” And in At the Wall of Time, we read: “The virgin jungle disappears…. The human being lives off of the jungle and consumes it, like everything measurable (Vermessene) feeds on the immeasurable (Unvermessene).” Ernst Jünger, An der Zeitmauer, in Sämtliche Werke 13, Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart, p. 554. On this question, see Enrique Ocaña, Más allá del nihilismo [Beyond Nihilism], University of Murcia, 1993, pp. 23-49 and 201-276.

57 A reference to the first book of Faust, scene XVII: “At the Well”, where Liseta, speaking with Margarita de Barbara, refers to the old custom of throwing straw on the threshold of the door of the houses of those families whose daughters had lost their virginity and had to be married right away.

58 See Radiaciones II, tr. Andrés Sánchez Pascual, Tusquets Editores (Andanzas 98/2), Barcelona, p. 531. Ekeby is the name of the castle where the major housed the knights in the saga of Gösta Berling, written by the Swedish author, Selma Lagerlöt.

59 J. J. von Tschudi, a Swiss traveler who in 1840 published his impressions in a book entitled, Peruanische Reiseskizzen während der Jahre 1838-42. Jünger also seems to be familiar with Ernst Freiherr von Bibra, the author of a now-classic treatise on the topic, Die Narkotischen Genußmittel und der Mensch, Wilhelm Schmid, Nürnberg, 1885.

60 Nachtschatten can mean either “a dark or nocturnal shadow”, or “deadly nightshade”, that is, a hallucinogenic plant of great psychoactive power, a member of the nightshade family—often used by witches—which is also known as solanum nigrum or the Moorish herb [in English it is also referred to as “Belladonna”—American translator’s note]. Later in this text, Jünger refers to die Nachtschattengesichter, literally “the faces of black shadow”. The association between Lemures or ghosts and deadly nightshade is rooted in the ancient use of the Solanaceae in the rites of witchcraft.

61 Haarmann, the Vampire of Hannover, who lured boys to his house, sodomized them, strangled them and chopped them into pieces.

62 A slightly modified quotation from Nietzsche, whose Zarathustra—in “The Sleepwalker’s Song”—says “world” instead of “night”: “… the world is deep, and deeper than day can comprehend”. As Andrés Sánchez Pascual points out, Nietzsche had also written on his personal copy the title, “The Drunken Song”, next to the heading, “The Sleepwalker’s Song”. It is thus not by chance that Jünger paraphrases this famous song, where he speaks of “deep midnight”, for it is by this means that Nietzsche called attention to the relation between ecstatic intoxication, pain and pleasure.

63Mehr Licht”. According to Chancellor Friedrich von Müller, these were the last words spoken by Goethe on his deathbed, on March 22, 1832: “Do open the shutter of the bedroom so that more light may enter.”

64 A large, forested urban park in Hannover, Germany [American translator’s note].

65 Charles Benoit is one of the main characters in African Games (1937), an autobiographical account in which Jünger provides a literary elaboration of his adolescent desertion from the French Foreign Legion while based in North Africa. See Juegos africanos, tr. Luis Alberto Martín, Guadarrama, Madrid, 1970, pp. 100-108. For a discussion of the metaphor of the psychic voyage, see the long passage dated September 17, 1942 in Radiaciones I, tr. Andrés Sánchez Pascual, Tusquets Editores (Andanza 98/1), Barcelona, 1989, pp. 353-355.

66 The terms used by Jünger (unqualifiziert and das Unqualifizierte) literally mean something that is stripped of all quality and therefore indeterminate. They belong to the same semantic category as other similar terms, such as, on the one hand, das Ungesonderte (the undifferentiated) and das Unvermessene (the immeasurable) and, on the other hand, Gespinst (fabric), Raster (grid), and Weißung (whitening/bleaching).

67 Jünger is referring to what De Quincey called “the tyranny of the human face”, a tormenting vision triggered by laudanum, related, according to the author, to his adolescent wanderings in the densely-populated metropolis of London. See Thomas De Quincey, Suspiria de Profundis.

68 This is from a verse from Goethe’s ballad, The Fisherman. Here is the full stanza: “Couldst see how happy fishes live / Under the stream so clear, / Thyself would plunge into the stream, / And live for ever there ”. From John Storer Cobb's English translation of “The Fisherman”, first published in Goethe: Poetical Works, vol. 1., Francis A Niccolls & Company, Boston, 1902.

69 The term used by Jünger is das Ungesonderte, that is, the undifferentiated or undivided substance.

70 Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater, “The Pleasures of Opium”.

71 Thomas de Quincey, op. cit., “May 1818”.

72 In 1934, Jünger dedicated a brief essay, Die Staub-Dämonen, to The Other Side, the fantastic tale of Alfred Kubin, known above all as an artist and illustrator of dreamscapes and disturbing universes.

73 From George MacDonald’s 1897 translation of Hymns to the Night.

74 From the Hindu legend, as related by Goethe in his ballad, “The God and the Temple Dancer”, the last three verses of which are as follows: “That the gods should console the contrite sinner;/and with their fiery arms they will raise into heaven/the poor mortals who had fallen into wretchedness”, tr. Rafael Cansinos Asséns, in Obras Completas I, p. 882.

75 Jünger distinguishes between the “Great Transition”, with capital letters, and the “lesser transition”; the peculiarity of the former is that it presupposes a departure from the space of history, a leap over the wall of time, or extreme approach. In this sense, great historical achievements like the French Revolution and other ephemera are merely lesser transitions. On the other hand, the death or the birth of a single person already presupposes a Great Transition, as does the supervention of Dionysius and its forms of ecstatic intoxication in the life of individuals and peoples.

76 Pseudonym under which Hölderlin published some of last poems, such as the so-called Poems of a Madman.

77 According to legend, Caesarius of Heisterbach lost track of time when he got lost in a forest while he was listening to the song of a nightingale that represented eternity. See also the epigraph preceding section 25.

78 The stereoscopic gaze of magic realism, like certain traits of photographic optics, contemplates the drug experience as a laboratory for reviving the perception of the aura. During the 1920s and 1930s Jünger edited various books of photographs on the war experience, technology and the modern metropolis. See Ernst Jünger: Guerra, técnica y fotografía, ed. Nicolas Sánchez Durá, University of Valencia, 2000.

79 John Parkinson, Paradisi in Sole Paradisus Terrestris [Park-in-Sun’s Terrestrial Paradise]: Or A Garden of All Sorts of Pleasant Flowers which our English Ayre will Permitt to be Noursed Vp. With a Kitchen Garden of All Manner of Herbes, Rootes, & Fruites, for Meate or Sause Vsed with Vs, and an Orchard of All Sorte of Fruitbearing Trees and Shrubbes Fit for Our Land. Together with the Right Orderinge, Planting & Preserving of Them and Their Uses and Vertues Collected by Iohn Parkinson Apothecary of London, Humfrey Lownes and Robert Young, London, 1629 [American translator’s note, based on the Wikipedia entry for John Parkinson].

80 See Goethe, Faust, Scene V, “Auerbach’s Cellar in Leipzig”.

81 Fügen und richten. Fügen, that is, “to dispose of”, in the dual sense of “to arrange”, to establish a “disposition”; and “to make use” of something over which one has power. Hence, Napoleon would be—to use Jünger’s terminology—a disponierende Geist, literally, a “spirit that disposes”, who dictates, that is, a dictator, a Machthaber. In this epigraph, Jünger is playing with the various meanings of the verb, fügen, which in its reflexive form denotes submission or resignation; with respect to, for example, the will of God, the dispositions of Providence or before any chance of fortune, fate or the unfolding of events.

82 Jünger speaks literally of a “strong consumption” (einen starken Konsum); this expression would seem to be a translation into German of certain words spoken by Napoleon, as they were already cited in The Adventurous Heart (1929/1938): “The attitude of this commander, who sees the change taking place behind the burning, has always struck me as a sign of a healthy life that does not shy away from a bloody incision. It is concentrated, with all the classical conciseness that so irritated Chateaubriand, in consomption forte, strong consumption [starke Verzehr], a phrase that Napoleon occasionally muttered during battles at those idle moments for him when all the reserves were on the march, whilst the front withered under the attacks of cavalry squadrons and the fire of advancing artillery, as under a surf of steel and flame” [Ernst Jünger, The Adventurous Heart: Figures and Capriccios, tr. Thomas Friese, Telos Press, Candor, N.Y., 2012, p.42].

83 This relates to the following anecdote: “It was not without a certain admiration that I once listened to an army officer’s paradoxical story. A French general had undergone a cruel operation at El-Aghouat, and died during it, despite the use of chloroform. This general was a very brave man and, what is more, someone to whom the term chivalrous naturally applied. ‘It wasn’t the chloroform that was needed, but the presence of his troops and the delightful sounds of the military band. With that, he might have been saved!’ The surgeon was not of the same opinion; but the chaplain would certainly have applauded those sentiments.” Charles Baudelaire, Artificial Paradises.



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