One of the best, yet underrated books I ve read J nger s deep sense of the death of God in the modern world can be seen in this veiled piece trough the two monks studying nature precise, flowers in a small cottage in the woods The flowers should not be taken literally, I believe this id deeply symbolic It s not about flowers, but platonic forms hinting at God that can be seen in this world The mountain, or cliff, they live near can be seen as a symbol for this very ascent into the heavens, very reminiscent of Dante s Paradiso.What the two monks are doing is in fact to try to comprehend the platonic forms, and trough that sort of gaze into a beatific vision You can see the wholesome life, free from the desire for power playing out at first Then, in a Dostoevskian twist the forest watcher comes and existence become a choleric will to power, where man abandon God in favor of one s burning passions The fires that appear can be seen as a symbol of this What I find very interesting is that even in this chaos, the two monks still risk their life to catalog a rare flower they found showing they love God than the world.As the end comes near, the tower the old clergyman was in collapses Symbolizing an anti christian reign in this land as he waves from afar The monks, saving their catalogs sail of Probably to leave their legacy with another land as a new cycle starts. Simultaneously tedious and wonderful It took me a long time to get through the book despite its short length many passages I had to read a second time to fully grasp the meaning Whether it was due to J nger or the translator Stuart Hood I found the prose to be elegant but nevertheless difficult to decipher at times It also seems like J nger sometimes feels the need to include at least one trenchant insight on each page, e.g No house is built, no plan laid, of which decay is not the corner stone, and what lives eternally in us does not lie in our works This density makes for slow going if you really want to digest it, but it s rewarding Is it an allegory against National Socialism, or Stalin According to the Wikipedia entry J nger himself refused the notion that the book was a statement of resistance, describing it rather as a shoe that fits various feet It is certainly about the breakdown of tradition leading to the breakdown of order Beyond that, it can certainly be interpreted many different ways. The Peaceful And Traditional People, Located On The Shores Of A Large Bay, Are Surrounded By The Rough Pastoral Folk In The Surrounding Hills, Who Feel Increasing Pressure From The Unscrupulous And Lowly Followers Of The Dreaded Head Forester The Narrator And Protagonist Lives On The Marble Cliffs As A Botanist With His Brother Otho, His Son Erio From A Past Relationship And Erio S Grandmother Lampusa The Idyllic Life Is Threatened By The Erosion Of Values And Traditions, Losing Its Inner Power The Head Forester Uses This Opportunity To Establish A New Order Based On Dictatorial Rule, Large Numbers Of Mindless Followers And The Use Of Violence, Torture And Murder I give this book four stars, but with hesitation I was leaning towards three, but I found the horticultural descriptions and environmental phenomenology mesmerizing The writing is a very ornamental prose should I thank the translator , which is enjoyable, though eventually tedious after 100 pages This aside, I found the subject matter of the book somewhat troublesome The jacket says that J nger first had the book published in Germany in 1939 This puzzles me, because I thought that he had been banned from publishing in the 1930s after refusing to work for the Nazis This book is supposed to illustrate J nger s dissatisfaction with the Nazis But then again, J nger eventually worked as a cultural attach in Paris during the war In the introduction George Steiner points out a question posed by the book that we can also say is posed by J nger s life was he simply to comfortable, bored, or absorbed in upper class distractions to be bothered to work against the encroaching evil, was he actually willing to work with it as long as it didn t interfere with his life directly, or was he actually a conscientious objecter, but knew he was too weak to resist The book suggest all three, but I would maybe replace the last factor with something that ties J nger even closer to the Nazis he had a fabulous dream of a perfect, unattainable world The book involves two brothers who live on beautiful estate with sensuous gardens and plants, and spend most of their time enjoying fine food and wine, fine conversation, and esoteric botany work They watch the world souring around them, the work of the crude Chief Ranger, who would like to return the world to a state of rustic barbarism The protagonist criticizes the world the Ranger brings, but also glorifies a certain, honorable rustic life, as personified in the noble warrior Belovar In a troubling scene that perhaps encapsulates the dilemma, the camps of the Chief Ranger and Belovar go to battle They engage in a massive hound fight, in which our protagonists notes that although Belovar s dogs are better fighters, being pure breads, the Ranger s dogs are greater in number Throughout the book I was confounded by the mixed metaphors of the various peoples and places J nger describes Mixing fantastical and real geography, the author seems to describe a real geopolitical unfolding Is it the unfolding of the Nazis over Europe Or, perhaps, of Stalin s Russia At times the two seems to blend together Are the pure breads of Belovar the German aristocracy or the volk they imagine who would like to see a purified Germany without the crude Hitler Is the Chief Ranger Hitler, Stalin, or perhaps both, insofar as they both embody lower classes usurping the proper rulers and perverting the cosmopolitan and intellectual world of the effete pure born.No doubt, these concerns mar the legacy of J nger Still, this book is a fascinating read when placed in the context of the period. Many readers would dismiss Junger purely because he was a Nazi and officer in the German Abwher Just like Knut Hamsun, his presence in the world of literature will not go away despite a segment of the population s dislike for the author s political sympathies and a campaign by some to create an Orwellian newspeek that would erase his existence Junger s ability is to create worlds peopled with characters that are merely observers or confine themselves to ivory towers in a world filled with terror and evil Therein resides his ability to create a sense of foreboding and evil rather than merely documenting it Auf den Marmorklippen, its German title, is a short and intensive read but don t expect to identify with any of the characters because the dialogue is dispassionate as I said previously Junger sets a mood and at times it can become palpable. Much like Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies, this is one of the great metaphorical stories about politics in the 20th century Unlike dystopias, like 1984 and Brave New World, this book is not even in theory about future development It is written in the 1930 s in the Third Reich, and it is mainly concerned with the totalitarian systems which at that point appeared to be already taking over the world It is also concerned with personal perspectives and responses than with the practical organization of a political system Its main political role was probably as an inspiration for the conservative resistance against Hitler during World War II e.g in the Staufenberg plot As so much of J nger s work it is worth reading for the beauty of the language, as well as for his unique perspective on history and politics although I have to add that I have only been reading this in a Swedish translation, not in the original German, but a Swedish translation is still closer to the original than I would imagine would be possible for an English translation. It took me a while to grasp what On The Marble Cliffs is, but finally I realized that it s a fantasy novel without any of the genre s usual trappings Two botanists live in peaceful isolation on the titular cliffs, surrounded by the wonders of nature in both plant and animal form Below them, though, dark powers are stirring and eventually the forces of good must take up arms against the spreading evil I found this to be an interesting addition to the fantasy genre, with its separation of lands and factions done without relying on the cliches of knights or magic When a car appears it is a jarring occurrence, as the rest of the world seems trapped in a nebulous period of the past that predates such technology I m sure the book was rife with political and or historical symbolism that I didn t catch, but the story such as it is stands even without it It s not great by any means, but a curiosity to be sure Not quite like any other book I ve read, for better or worse. A stunning novel Had this been a blatantly obvious analogy to the horrors that were happening at the beginning of Hitler s regime, I doubt J nger would ve survived after the publication of this work.The wonderful balance between the poetry of beautiful bygone days and the straightforward and sober accounts of gory fight scenes, with the soft and ominous bittersweet transition environment of the days when the change started to penetrate the narrator s land and daily routine, left a strong impression in me This, together with the symbology of some characters, animals, places, etc work very well to make a bold, smart and very pleasant read that definitely left an important footprint in my brain.Not completely unrelated to this, J nger s obvious interest in Biology and Ecology, which can be promptly seen in this narrative, enhanced my fondness for the story I ll definitely read from him in the future. Political fable written by an extreme right winger and published in 1939 The story deals with two brothers, based on Juenger and his brother who come into opposition to the evil Chief Ranger whose forces have come to dominate the dark forests above the civilised and settled lands It is an atmospheric book, perhaps almost painterly in its evocation of landscape, and in the implication of landscape as identity There s a solid portrayal of the military ethos as fraternal, a aesthetic Spartans trouble themselves with how to deal with the power based in those dark forests.As a reader I can t say I found the ending satisfying, though one might view it as realistic from the point of view of 1939 But the psychology of the landscape struck me The tender hearted had best avoid it on account of the fighting dogs and decapitations. Auf den MarmorklippenErnst J nger 1895 1998 This novel, the literary masterpiece of Ernst J nger, is set in an imaginary southern landscape named Marina and at a time which can be compared to the 30 year war in Germany, as readers of Wallenstein might recognise.After many years on the warfront, the narrator and his brother Otho retire to a mountain retreat where they plan to spend their time in meditation and botanical research.From an initial painting of life in paradise, the story slowly reveals ongoing civil unrest organised by a ruthless leader called the Oberf rster The brothers are members of a secret society called the Mauritanians and receive information about the subversive aims of these bands of robbers and murderers The two heroes are finally drawn into participating in the fight to help save the population.The scenes leading to these conflicts are pictures of horrific cruelties and give the author an opportunity to show his exceptional talent for creative writing.Critics have interpreted the work as the authors forbearing warning of the imminent second world war Written in 1939 it had been criticised by the Nazi Party but was not forbidden.