Arts & Entertainment

Ernst Jünger’s sinister fable of 1939

“The classical beauty of the writing, in Tess Lewis’s exquisite translation, gives a sense of the author’s sympathies. . . . [Jünger’s] short, prismatic book is beautiful.”
—Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal


Ernst Jünger

Translated from the German by Tess Lewis
Introduction by Jessi Jezewska Stevens
Afterword by Maurice Blanchot

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. 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 On the Marble Cliffs brings out all of this legendary book’s dark luster.

“[T]he primacy of his poetic imagination, his born naturalist’s observational perceptiveness, and the noble humanness undergirding his writing lend it unequivocal greatness.” —Will Stone, Times Literary Supplement

On the Marble Cliffs is a great book and virtually no one I’ve ever mentioned it to has read it.” —W.S. Merwin

On the Marble Cliffs was the February selection of the NYRB Classics Book Club.


For three days only, On the Marble Cliffs is available at 30% off along with another novel by Jünger:



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