Ernst Ginger was not weak. “He took cold baths every morning until he was old, which was hard for him,” said Rudolf Augustin admiringly in his obituary. The flexible attitude attributed to the writer is not only attractive in times of rising energy costs.
Talking to pupils has a high potential for excitement. He is undoubtedly a figure in German intellectual history who is as popular as he is controversial, unleashing a tantalizing blend of attraction and repulsion. For some he is a masterful designer, for others he is a fervent nationalist and anti-democratic.
Thus, Ginger’s texts, which are sometimes hard to take with wrath of seriousness, are less interesting than the reading community that gathers around him. Whether in pop songs or in literature for a few, whether in alternative leftist magazines or new right-wing manifestos – the pupil figure is still tenaciously present today as a masculine reading cue.
An underdog who stumbles into the world in solitude and knows how to make fun of him
Elon Musk publicly boasts on Twitter that he reads to schoolchildren. Martin Schulz, a politician from the Social Democratic Party, does the same, but is very modest at the Leipzig Book Fair. The (partially broken) celebration of the voice of manhood transcends cultural and political terrain. Jiinger establishes an air connection between men who do not have much in common.
The identification number is actually relatively profane. The underdog who stumbles into the bad world in solitude and knows how to make fun of it in a superior way. Solitaire is completely with himself, who will not submit to any order, and criticizes the weakness of democracy. As this character seems to have run out of time, she brings “solace through sharing” (Niels Pinky): through it, you reassure yourself that you still have a lot to say – even if no one wants to listen anymore.
Ernst Ginger’s diaries from 1939-1948 are now available in a critical historical edition under the title Radiation. With surgical precision, the passionate entomologist observes not only creation and death in nature, but also the destructive power of human civilization at the same time.
It is the official work of the quiet distance that exercises this great magic
When he arrived on the Eastern Front in the winter of 1942, he noticed the disgust of the deportations and the atrocities committed against the civilian population. But the Holocaust appears to him as a violent natural event. It’s just a “barometer” that measures the extreme deviations of civilization’s “hurricanes,” he writes.
The stages of editing the diary entries, which appear in color in the Historical Critical Edition, now provide symbolic information about the official work of the quiet distance exerting such great fascination. Especially on men. The two editors, Joanna van den Locht and Helmuth Kessel, wrote in their media introduction that the edition offers “insights on the author’s writing workshop.”
Thus, the version is read as a practical reconstruction of literary texts. The originality inherent in the diary becomes visible here as a stylized style. Careful text recording and permanent revision indicate the effective connection between fact and fiction, which is the “always incomplete connection to reality,” as Ginger himself asserts.
The wired attitude associated with the character is the product of training
The author’s deletions in the new editions also reveal the social character of isolated office work. For example, he deleted those clips that were not satisfied with the reviews. The audience not only read, but also take notes. The current documentation of revisions makes the text reservoir dynamic.
But it’s not just him. Indirectly, “body armor” (Klaus Thewlett) can also be experienced as a fragile structure that constantly struggles to unravel. As the text is polished and tamed, the wired attitude associated with the character’s pupil, is the product of exercise and discipline.
In the text variants, in its different degrees, emphasis is placed on a different image of masculinity. Now we see the goosebumps that the cold man is trying to deny. At the same time, the gesture of indomitable solitaire, which remains true to itself despite external resistance, can be recognized as a fiercely subordinate. Deletions after criticism indicate the need for approval from others.
The edition’s great achievement, as well as its careful reconstruction of the textual work, is the insight that masculinity is a perilous narrative.