Fri, 17 February 2023
In episode 60 of the podcast, recorded live at Goethe-Institut New York, BISR's Ajay Singh Chaudhary joins translator Tess Lewis, political theorist Corey Robin, and novelist Jessi Jezewska Stevens for a wide-ranging discussion of Ernst Jünger’s 1939 novel On the Marble Cliffs, now out from NYRB in a new translation by Lewis. Prompted by the question, “Why read Jünger today?,” their talk explores the various “tangled” scenes of Jünger reception—from his contemporaries (excoriated by Thomas Mann and Walter Benjamin) to his apologists (defended for his denunciation of the Nazis—if only for their vulgarity) to patent aesthetic and thematic parallels in contemporary anime and manga. Is it possible, or worthwhile, to read Jünger in the context of the contemporary right and its concern with its own worldview losing traction in a changing world? Is Jünger literary aristocracy—or, rather, a kind of literary adolescent? And, what is it like to translate something that you feel at odds with?