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  • Published: 21 March 2023
  • ISBN: 9781681376257
  • Imprint: NY Review Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 144
  • RRP: $35.00

On the Marble Cliffs



Now in a new translation, an imaginative, darkly radiant fable about a pair of brothers, formerly warriors, whose idyll is shattered by an enroaching fascistic force.

Now in a new translation, an imaginative, darkly radiant fable about a pair of brothers, formerly warriors, whose idyll is shattered by an encroaching fascistic force.

Set in a world of its own, Ernst Jünger’s On the Marble Cliffs is both a mesmerizing work of fantasy and an allegory of the advent of fascism. The narrator of the book and his brother, Otho, live in an ancient house carved out of the great marble cliffs that overlook the Marina, a great and beautiful lake that is surrounded by a peaceable land of ancient cities and temples and flourishing vineyards. To the north of the cliffs are the grasslands of the Campagna, occupied by herders. North of that, the great forest begins. There the brutal Head Forester rules, abetted by the warrior bands of the Mauretanians.

The brothers have seen all too much of war. Their youth was consumed in fighting. Now they have resolved to live quietly, studying botany, adding to their herbarium, consulting the books in their library, involving themselves in the timeless pursuit of knowledge. However, rumors of dark deeds begin to reach them in their sanctuary. Agents of the Head Forester are infiltrating the peaceful provinces he views with contempt, while peace itself, it seems, may only be a mask for heedlessness.

Tess Lewis’s new translation of Jünger’s sinister fable of 1939 brings out all of this legendary book’s dark luster.

  • Published: 21 March 2023
  • ISBN: 9781681376257
  • Imprint: NY Review Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 144
  • RRP: $35.00

Praise for On the Marble Cliffs

On the Marble Cliffs is an allegorical tale, written in a frozen, humorless, yet brilliantly colored style that owes something to the nineteenth-century Decadents and something to the Scandinavian sagas. The result is a prose equivalent of an Art Nouveau object in glass.” —Bruce Chatwin, The New York Review of Books
 
On the Marble Cliffs, published shortly after the outbreak of World War II, shows that Junger had broken with his militarist and anti-humanist tradition without having become a stanch champion of democracy.  Junger's prose, full of chthonic symbols and allegoric allusions, is flexible and rich.” —Alfred Werner, The New York Times