Home > Research > Projects > Work in Progress: Nietzsche, Jünger and the Pro...
View graph of relations

Work in Progress: Nietzsche, Jünger and the Problem of Work

Project: Research


This volume explores the influence of Nietzsche’s thought in the works of Ernst Jünger, focusing on the essay Der Arbeiter: Herrschaft und Gestalt (The Worker: Dominion and Form) published in 1932 (English translation Northwestern University Press, 2017).  Jünger’s text occupies a special place in his own oeuvre, but is not an exception in terms of its questions and problems within the broader context of the first part of the Twentieth Century and the heritage of the Nineteenth.  This volume will situate Jünger’s text in two ways.  First, it will outline the context of the debates in the Nineteenth Century. At the core of these debates lie questions that have not ceased to be essential preoccupations ever since.   Secondly, it will outline the debates about work itself and its relationship to the ‘humanity of the human’ taking place in Europe, especially in Germany, and the United States, in the decades between the world wars.  The modern formulation of the problem of work (whether it fundamentally humanizes or alienates, secures or endangers, modern man and woman, in an increasingly secularised understanding of production and existence) became the central theme of political, social and economic thinking in the first part of the Twentieth Century.  It grounded the political programmes and actions of parties and movements on the Left, the Right, but also at the Centre.  Jünger’s text must be read as part of these debates - and it is in this sense that it continues to speak about the ambiguous relationshiop we have with work today, and perhaps even more emphatically ambiguous now than a century ago.

Layperson's description

Ernst Jünger (1895-1998) is well-known as one of the greatest memorialists of the First World War – in In Storms of Steel (1919) and Copse 125 (1925). Less well known is that these same texts also contain powerful insights not just into the nature of modern war, but also into the nature of work as the central and defining character of our times. This volume examines Jünger’s 1932 The Worker: Dominion and Form, in which he explores work as the very ground of the most important values of our time: individuality, society, freedom, power, danger, and technology. In Jünger’s work we encounter a Friedrich Nietzsche unknown from the post-war Nietzsche, one whose energy and vision make Jünger’s probing dissection of the Twentieth Century so prescient, because the question of work itself is the one which has never ceased to be the central political, cultural, economic and social problem for our own condition. Jünger shows how no aspect of contemporary existence can be separated from it.
Effective start/end date1/05/2330/06/25