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A German Officer in Occupied Paris


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Table of Contents

Foreword, by Eliot Neaman
Translator's Preface
1. First Paris Journal
2. Notes from the Caucasus
3. Second Paris Journal
4. Kirchhorst Diaries
Glossary of Personal Names

About the Author

Ernst Junger (1895-1998) was a major figure in twentieth-century German literature and intellectual life. He was a young leader of right-wing nationalism in the Weimar Republic. Among his many works is the novel On the Marble Cliffs, a symbolic criticism of totalitarianism written under the Third Reich.

Elliot Neaman is professor of history at the University of San Francisco and the author of A Dubious Past: Ernst Junger and the Politics of Literature after Nazism (1999).

Thomas Hansen, a longtime member of the Wellesley College German Department, is a translator from the German.

Abby Hansen is a translator of German literary and nonfiction texts.


Ernst Junger's record of German-occupied Paris and the battlefields of the Caucasus is a treasure trove for readers interested in the history of the Second World War. Even more, though, it is a literary accomplishment of the first order, a document of European modernism, in which this master stylist leaves traces of the violence of the age between the lines of his crystalline prose. -- Russell A. Berman, Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities, Stanford University, and senior fellow, Hoover Institution
These diaries are not only a remarkable document of the time, but bring us close to a strange but highly original person, always capable of a fresh response to the natural world, the atmosphere of Paris, and the hideous events that force themselves on his knowledge. Many of Junger's texts have an inhuman chill; these diaries reveal his humanity. -- Ritchie Robertson * Times Literary Supplement *
For English-speaking readers who do not know his work, A German Officer in Occupied Paris shows the many sides of this complex, elusive writer. -- Edmund Fawcett * Financial Times *
Through these journals, we see Junger consorting with resistors and collaborators, intellectuals and artists, drinking champagne, dining in sumptuous restaurants, and accompanying other officers to nightclubs, where naked women perform. Wandering around the city, he combs through antiquarian bookshops, stops in at galleries, discusses literature with friends, and acutely observes plants and flowers change with the seasons. He recounts in detail his dreams, nightmares, and musings on war. . . . A unique historical testimony. * Kirkus Reviews *
Once read, these [journals] are never forgotten. They are surely the strangest literary production to come out of the Second World War, stranger by far than anything by Celine or Malaparte. Junger reduces his war to a sequence of hallucinatory prose poems in which things appear to breathe and people perform like automata or, at best, like insects. -- Bruce Chatwin, New York Review of Books (review of French edition)
Politically ambiguous and polymathic, Junger led a remarkable and long life (he died at the age of 102 in 1998) as a soldier, writer and philosopher. "I suffer from a hyperacute sense of observation," he said, not as a boast, but by way of admitting to a weakness. The foibles of the Nazis, the deathwatch beetles he collected, the facial tics of liars, the flick of a Parisian woman's hair as she bought a hat, the physical contortions of an executed deserter: all these came under the magnifying glass in his war journals, kept from 1941-45. Their publication in English, fluently translated, is a remarkable moment, presenting a model of how to navigate an age of extremism. -- Roger Boyes * The Times of London *
Expertly translated into English by Thomas and Abby Hansen . . . with an excellent biographical-critical foreword by Elliot Y. Neaman. -- Michael Dirda * The Washington Post *
[Junger's] writings and insights have long earned him sage status in Germany. This, the first publication in English of his diaries from 1941-45, heightens his complexity but also makes him a more rounded figure. -- Alex Colville * The Spectator *
A German Officer in Occupied Paris is a remarkable slice of World War II, and makes for fascinating reading. -- M.A. Orthofer * The Complete Review *
Junger is an eloquent and informative witness to artistic life in occupied France, deportations, the burgeoning French Resistance and the conspirators against Hitler as well as the utter chaos after Stalingrad. This edition also includes extensive notes and a full glossary of all the people mentioned in the text. * Times Higher Education *
Junger's war diaries, translated here with damning clarity by Thomas and Abby Hansen, are a fascinating, refined and disturbing record of the moral disasters of Nazism and collaboration. -- Dominic Green * Wall Street Journal *
With the publication of these extraordinary, sometimes hallucinatory diaries. English speakers have the chance to read one of the great witnesses to 20th-century Europe's catastrophe. -- Paul Lay * New Statesman *
A highly decorated German veteran of the First World War, Junger (1895-1998) spent much of the Second as an officer stationed in Paris, where his journal is an almost daily record of the views and impressions of a well-read literary figure, entomologist, and cultural critic, now available for the first time in English. . . . Elliot Neaman is to be thanked for a comprehensive Foreword, as are Thomas Hansen and Abby Hansen for their translation of a most enigmatic set of Journals, and Columbia University Press for publishing them. They have made accessible the work of a cultured and literary person in service to a brutal regime. -- Bertram M. Gordon * H-Diplo *
In Paris, Junger tried to confront absolute horror with his chevalieresque idea of style, and the experiment is absorbing to observe, in its short-circuits and moments of illumination and ultimate burnout. -- Adam Thirlwell * New York Review of Books *

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