84 Jünger is probably quoting the verses of this ballad from memory, since Goethe warns not against “vain” (müßig), but “frightful”, magic (ängstliche Beschwörung): “‘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’….” Goethe, The Poems of Goethe, tr. Edgar Alfred Bowring, John W. Parker and Son, London, 1853, p. 159. [The English translation by Bowring has “spells absurd” instead of “frightful magic”—American translator’s note.]
85 The Réflexions et maxims of the Marquise de Vauvenargues were a source of inspiration for both Schopenhauer as well as Nietzsche. In Autor und Autorschaft, Jünger dedicates an interesting comment to this aphorism: “Are thoughts born from the brain? Vauvenargues is of the opinion that they sprout from the heart; this is more correct. Since his time the heart has been degraded to a mere muscle. But Vauvenargues was not thinking of it as a muscle; he conceived of it, just as the ancients did, as the center of the vital force. That is where thoughts come from; the brain plays the role of a transformer: it registers, elaborates and stores inspirations…. A primitive example: Vauvenargues assumed that great thoughts ascend from the depths without words and that, perhaps with some loss, they are transformed. We get a glimpse of this in poetry, song, and prayer”. Ernst Jünger, El autor y la escritura [originally published under the title Autor und Autorschaft in 1984—American translator’s note] tr. Ramón Alcalde, Gedisa, Barcelona, 1987, p. 195.
86 A question that orients the work of Jünger increasingly more explicitly from At the Wall of Time to The Scissors, and whose starting point was a 1957 text entitled Measurable Time and the Time of Fate. Reflections of a Layman on Astrological Questions. This text addresses the crucial distinction between historical transition and meta-historical transition, between history and post-history, without which the gnostic philosophy of Approaches cannot be understood.
87 Homer, The Odyssey, Chapters XX and XXI.
88 Matthew 8:22. “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
89 “You can often see healthy men have a big turn-out of excrement without any prior need….” And the previous quotation: “Vulture: a bird that lives on carrion and rottenness rather than fresh meat” (Buffon, Birds, I, 284).
90 The original French text reads as follows: “Le caractère de la scène et le ton de la légende contribuent ensemble à jeter l’esprit dans cet état de rêve qui le porte bientôt jusqu’à la pleine clairvoyance, et l’esprit découvre alors un nouvel enchaînement des phénomènes du monde, que ses yeux ne pouvaient apercevoir dans l’état de veille ordinaire.”
91 In its ordinary meaning, “weft” (Gespinst) designates the structure of a fabric, constituted by the interweaving of two types of thread: the warp and the weft, properly speaking; but it can also designate any type of interwoven or reticular structure, for example, the weft formed by two chemical substances, regardless of the figurative meaning of the argumentative framework of a work. In any case, in this context, Jünger is using textile metaphors to allude to this ultimate and ineffable structure that he implies is the basis of all approach. On other occasions, he mentions this same ontological structure in the form of a grid or mesh with the German word, Raster, that is, “reticulum”, mixing the textile metaphor with the optical metaphor.
92 In his utopian novel, Heliopolis (1949), Jünger describes the operations of the Office of Convergence as a great subterranean center, equipped with “extremely intelligent machines”, responsible for performing, in conjunction with the Central Archive, operations of registry and statistics, capable of relating “anything that has a form with a system of coordinates”; that is, anything susceptible to concentrating and unifying the information of any time and place, and transforming it into power. Ernst Jünger, Heliópolis, Seix Barral, Barcelona, 1987 (tr. Marciano Villanueva), pp. 43-45.
93 Jünger is paraphrasing a statement by Gottfried Benn, which he had previously quoted in At the Wall of Time: “Es kommt darauf an, was einer aus seinem Nihilismus macht” (“What counts is what one does with one’s nihilism”). Benn addressed the controversial question of the relation between art, illness and nihilism, especially in two essays from 1930: Genie und Gesundheit [Genius and Health] and Das Genieproblem [The Problemof Genius], the latter of which is included in our edition of his writings, El yo moderno [The Modern Ego], Pre-Textos, Valencia, 1999, pp. 57-68.
94 These bronzes inspired Jünger to write a brief essay entitled, Sardinian Fatherland. A Walk through the Museum of Cagliari, published in the journal, Antaeus, in 1962. See Ernst Jünger, Sämtliche Werke 12, Klett-Cotta.
95 Conclusion of the poem, “Süsses Kind, die Perlenreihen…”, which Goethe did not include in his Divan due to its anti-Christian spirit.
96 The ophidian as a Gnostic symbol of undifferentiated unity occupies a privileged place in Jünger’s bestiary, as already exemplified by the serpents in On the Marble Cliffs (1939). Jünger himself emphasized their relation to the realm of Mothers and to Zarathustra’s disciple: “Nietzsche has seen in it a completely different form of intelligence, its proximity to the earth”. See Julian Hervier, Conversaciones con Ernst Jünger, FCE, Mexico City, 1990, pp. 40-41.
97 The image of approach (Annäherung) also evokes the topographical-military sense of “march” or “advance” towards the line that has been traced since Storms of Steel (1920) and Battle as Inner Experience (1922): “Then [the combatant] merges with the whole, he rapidly marches through the doors of death like a bullet towards its target.” On this metaphorical question, see Enrique Ocaña, Duelo e historia, Alfons el Magnànim, Valencia, 1996, pp. 19-59.
98 Jünger uses the German term, Zollstation, literally, “customs station”, a clear allusion to a beautiful passage in The Adventurous Heart (1938), whose title is precisely, “An der Zollstation”. In his approach to the ultima linea rerum, the dying man—writes Jünger—“experiences a pause in his journey, like at a lonely customs station high in the mountains, where the local coins of his memories are exchanged for gold. His consciousness reaches forward like a light, and by its radiance he recognizes that he is not being cheated, but rather that he is exchanging fear for certainty.” Here, too, he mentions that last notes of the leitmotiv of life that are typical of the border experiences with death: “… as if, after the opera and the lowering of the curtain, the main theme was played again in the empty space by an invisible orchestra, lonesome, tragic, proud, and with deadly significance” (Ernst Jünger, The Adventurous Heart, tr. Thomas Friese, Telos Press, Candor, N.Y., 2012, p. 83).
99 An untranslatable play on words between zugrunde gehen (“perish”) and zu Grunde gehen (“to go under, to sink”).
100 Walter Schubart (1897-1941), a German intellectual who was persecuted by both the Nazis as well as by the Russian Bolsheviks, and who was finally declared to have disappeared after the Soviet siege of Riga, is often quoted in Radiations. His essay, Nietzsche and Dostoyevsky (1939) inspired Over the Line; the second part of The Peace opens with a quotation taken from Europa und die Seele des Ostens [Europe and the Soul of the Orient]: “Not in the even course of the bourgeois world, but in the thunder of the Apocalypse are religions reborn”. [See Ernst Jünger, The Peace, tr. Stuart O. Hood, Henry Regnery Company, Hinsdale, Illinois, 1948, p. 35. The “Gospel of St. John the Baptist” to which Jünger refers is the Mandaean Book of John—American translator’s supplementary note.]
101 In English in the original—American translator’s note.
102Lysergsäurediäthylamid or LSD is a feminine term in both German and Spanish, while in this book we usually use the masculine form, due to the erroneous belief that the acronym designates “the” lysergic acid and not, as is correct, “the” diethylamide of lysergic acid.
103 See Ernst Jünger, A Visit to Godenholm, Alianza, Madrid, 1983, pp. 77-78. Jünger is quoting from the first edition of A Visit to Godenholm (1952), while the Spanish translation by Juan Conesa includes revisions later introduced by the author in the volume of his complete works that was published in 1978.
104 For the reader who is would like to know more about the writer Erwin Jaeckle, and Rudolf Gelpke, a physician and Orientalist and a pioneer, along with Jünger and Hofmann, of proto-psychedelia, we recommend the book by Albert Hofmann, LSD—Mein Sorgenkind, Klett-Cotta, Frankfurt, 1979, pp. 92-103. (There is a Spanish translation of this book: LSD, Gedisa, Barcelona, 1989.) The reader may also refer to the text of the presentation that Albert Hofmann dedicated to his friend upon the occasion of his being awarded a doctorate Honoris Causa by the University of the Basque Country: “Droga y euforia en la obra de Ernst Jünger”, in Simposio-Homenaje a Ernst Jünger, ed. Enrique Ojembarrena, Bilbao, 1990, pp. 131-148. [In English, see Albert Hofmann, LSD: My Problem Child, available online at: http://www.psychedelic-library.org/child.htm—American translator’s note.]
105 Gelpke’s classic work bears the title, Vom Rausch im Orient und Okzident [On Inebriation in the East and in the West], first published by Jünger’s publisher, Klett, and later reprinted under the title, Drogen und Seelenerweiterung, Kindler, Munich, 1966. One of the epigraphs in this book is “Antonio Peri: a Researcher of Western-Eastern Drugs” (p. 146), and the next one reads, “Ernst Jünger and Charles Baudelaire” (p. 147).
106 From Antonio Peri’s library, which was looted by the island’s xenophobes, two significant books were preserved: “… a heavy old volume by the Heidelberg psychologists on the extract of mescal buttons, and a paper on the phantastica of ergot by Hofmann-Bottmingen.” In one of her conversations with Captain Lucius de Geer, Antonio Peri’s niece called attention to the difference between the warlike exuberance and the anxiety of her uncle: “She thought that this was indicative of not just the difference between East and West, but also a difference with respect to power. Lucius belonged to the race of world conquerors, and hence his hunger for space, his yearning for remote distances. Antonio, on the other hand, belonged to the race of the oppressed of this world and therefore he depended on more concealed pleasures, those in which the defeated take refuge. There is an equilibrium of time and space, and he who loses space attempts to compensate for his loss by gaining time. This is what Antonio was seeking in the labyrinths of ecstasy.” Ernst Jünger, Heliopolis, Seix Barral, Barcelona, 1987, p. 335.
107 Goethe, Faust (Part One).
108 Friedrich, more inclined to poetry, devoted an early essay to Trakl in a collection of essays, edited by Ernst, in memory of those who had fallen in the First World War; and he added a second essay on the same topic to his later collection of essays, East and West. It should also be kept in mind that while Jünger buried himself in his “avalanche of readings”, Trakl, a pharmacist by profession, committed suicide in a military hospital by taking an overdose of cocaine.
109 Readers of Spanish who are interested in Gottfried Benn’s poetry may consult the anthology edited by José Manuel López de Abiada, Gottfried Benn, Júcar, Madrid, 1983, and also Poemas estáticos, tr. Antonio Bueno Tubía, Libertarias, Madrid, 1993; Pre-textos is also preparing to publish a Spanish translation of Aprèslude. [For the English-speaking reader who is interested in Benn’s poetry, there are several English language editions of some of his works, including: Gottfried Benn, Primal Vision: Selected Prose & Poetry, New Directions, 1971; Prose, Essays, Poems, “The German Library” Series No. 73, Continuum International Publishing Group, 1987; and Selected Poems and Prose, Carcanet Press, 2013 (American translator’s note).]
110 A name coined by Mörike to refer to the Isle of Dreams.
111 “Dreams/Dream/Gonorrhea/Tristesse/Troop of Spoiled Sons/Turin I.”
112 Ernst Niekisch (1889-1967), the most important representative of “National-Bolshevism”, the left wing of the so-called “conservative revolution”, and the author of works such as Hitler Ein deutsches Verhängnis [Hitler, a German Fate] (1932) and The Third Reich Figure (1935). His opposition earned him many years in concentration camps beginning in 1937, where he remained until the end of the war. Jünger’s appreciation for this unique personality has left its mark in various passages of Radiations I in which, at times, he is mentioned under the code name of Cellaris (prisoner). See op. cit., pp. 479-482 and 511; and see also, Pasados los setenta I, Tusquets, p. 13.
113 A now-classic essay by Max Bense in which the similarities, but also the differences, between the “pure” prose of Benn and the “symbolic” prose of Jünger are examined. See Max Bense, Ptolomäer und Mauretanier oder Die theologische Emigration der duetschen Literatur, Haffman Verlag, Zurich, 1984.
114 An English nurse who was accused of espionage and shot, in the autumn of 1915, by the Prussian army, under the medical supervision of Benn. Thirteen years later, the expressionist poet dedicated an article to her, entitled, “Wie Miss Cavell erschossen wurde” (1928) [How Miss Cavell was Shot], which describes the events in question objectively and in minute detail, in response to a film that exalted the figure of this “heroine”. Jünger’s interest is understandable if we recall the cold description of the shooting of the German deserter that appears in Radiations.
115 Specifically, both in Epilogue and the Poetic Ego (1927) [see Gottfried Benn, Doble vida y otros ensayos autobiográficos, Barral, Barcelona, 1972, pp. 7-13] as well as in “Problems of Poetry” (1951); the latter included in our edition of The Modern Ego, Pre-textos, Valencia, 2000, pp. 190 et seq.
116 A reference to Goethe’s famous verses in the “Book of Suleika” from West-Eastern Divan: “The slave, the lord of victories, / The crowd, whene'er you ask, confess /
In sense of personal being lies / A child of earth's chief happiness.”
117 “Dominique de Roux sent me a copy of A Visit to Godenholm. I have read it three times and each time I read it I find new beauty. The very title perhaps seems to say, if I am not mistaken, the house of the Gods or the roof of the Gods, and, in effect, is about the last initiation, that of death, suggested or sensed from the very first page….”
118 An anecdote narrated by De Quincey in his Confessions, where re recounts, with a great deal of humor and compassion, how a Malayan, on a trip through England for some reason, sought hospitality in his house despite the indignation of his old landlady and her ignorant servant. The multilingual Englishman, moved to pity by the strange visitor, offered him a large quantity of opium for his return trip: “I must have done him the service I designed by giving him one night of respite from the pains of wandering.” Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater, “Introduction to the Pains of Opium”.
119 Friedrich Georg Jünger, The Failure of Technology: Perfection without Purpose, trans. F. D. Wieck (Hinsdale, Ill.: Henry Regnery Co. 1949) [American translator’s note].
120 A critical essay written by Friedrich Georg Jünger in the 1930s, Perfección y fracaso de la técnica, Sur, Buenos Aires, 1968, which may be read as the “companion volume” to The Worker.
121 Guido is engaging in a play on words with the German acronym used to refer to a truck (LKW: Lastkraftwagen), changing the L for Last (“cargo, weight”) to Liebe (“love”).
122 From Goethe, Faust I.
123Taurita (Stierlein): an affectionate nickname used by Jünger in his diaries to refer to his second wife, Liselotte, whom he married, at his second wedding, in 1962. It is an allusion to the astrological sign of Taurus.
124 Jünger’s nickname for Nietzsche in both On the Marble Cliffs and Heliopolis.
125Johannes (John), in the German vernacular, designates the penis.
126 From a poem by Heinrich Heine: “When we in the mud descended / Soon we understood each other.”
127 He is speaking of psilocybin mushrooms, used by the shaman María Sabina in her healing ceremonies. It was from this natural substrate that Albert Hofmann synthesized psilocybin, whose psychoactive power is similar to that of LSD.
128 The first words of Tamino’s aria, in the first act of The Magic Flute.
129 A Moslem writer, later a convert to Catholicism, and a refugee in Paris during the Occupation, where she associated with Jünger and introduced him to Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. The product of these encounters was a book of dialogues.
130 On the experience of the “bad trip”—“… one has abandoned the train of causality and no longer has any connection. Who knows in what train station in the universe one finds oneself”—see the note dated July 1, 1945 in Radiaciones II, tr. Andrés Sánchez Pascual, Tusquets Editores (Andanzas 98/2), Barcelona, 1992, p. 443.
131 An untimely Catholic and apocalyptic critic of bourgeois democracy, Léon Bloy exercised a notable influence on the work of Jünger. The interested reader may refer to a good sample from his diaries in the excellent translation of Cristóbal Serra: Léon Bloy, Mis diarios, Bitzoc, Palma de Mallorca, 1998; and also some of his most important essays, such as La salvación de los judios, La sangre del pobre, and En las tinieblas, Hypsamérica, Madrid, 1988, edited by Manuel Serrat Crespo.
132 Words attributed to Goethe on his deathbed.
133 Like Nietzsche, Jünger establishes an association between Übergang and Untergang, between “transition” and “twilight”. On this point, see the excellent Spanish translation of Así habló Zaratustra, especially footnote 4 of the Alianza edition, in which Andrés Sánchez Pascual clarifies this crucial contraposition. If we recall, furthermore, that “ambush” in German is Waldgang (which in turn refers to Todesgang: “advance towards death”), one will get an idea of the multiple suggestions of the German term reduced by translation to “transition”.
134 An English translation of “Sicilian Letter to the Man in the Moon” is available in Ernst Jünger, The Adventurous Heart, tr. Thomas Friese, Telos Press, Candor, N.Y., 2012, pp. 121-130 [American translator’s note].
135 First published in 1974 in Ensemble 5, ed. by Clemens Graf Podewils and Heinz Piontek.
136 Charles Baudelaire, “Cats”, in The Flowers of Evil.
137 See footnote 5.
138 On the colonist family of the Von Krosigs and their coffee plantations on the high plateau of Libolo, see the interesting accounts from Jünger’s diaries concerning his trip to Angola, specifically Quilumbo, on October 26, 1966. Ernst Jünger, Pasados los sesenta I, tr. Andrés Sánchez Pascual, Tusquets Editores (Andanzas 98/3), Barcelona, 1995, p. 327.
139 In fact, it is related to the word from the Middle High German, blenkeln, that is, “to beat the drum”. Blinken means to emit reflections or to glitter, to warn with intermittent light, or to blink.
140 Pandurs: a name for various specialized military, police or militia units in the northwestern Balkans (Austria-Hungary, Croatia, Dalmatia) during the 1700s and the 1800s [American translator’s note].
141Die Wilde Jagd, in Germanic mythology, the army of spirits, the souls of the dead who ride to the assault.
142 In German, Dämonie does not designate satanic power so much as power that is dangerous because of its unpredictable nature. Thus, for example, it is frequently used in expressions such as the Dämonie der Technik.
143 Homer, Odyssey, IX, translated by Samuel Butler (1900).