The adventurous heart

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The adventurous heart. Figurines and Capriccios is a collection of texts by Ernst Jünger published in 1938 . This second version of the work differs from the first version The Adventurous Heart. Significant day and night records from 1929. Two thirds of the original text have been deleted and renewed, and Jünger especially renounced any open political and autobiographical references. Both versions are currently still being published.

Particularly important for Jünger's work are the essayistic pieces The Main Key , The Combinatorial Conclusion and The Stereoscopic Enjoyment , in which he develops his own poetics and perception (see below).


The collection consists of 63 short prose pieces from half to fifteen pages long (The Hippopotamus). Each text is assigned to a place such as Steglitz, Goslar, Überlingen or Ponta Delgada. The pieces can be divided into short stories (mostly fantastic , surrealistic or symbolistic ), diary-like entries and essays .


In Das adventurliche Herz, Jünger designs and tests his own style of perception and thinking, which combines clear and sharp observation with the indefinite receptivity of the dreamer . Demonstrating this style as an example, Jünger introduces The Adventurous Heart with the piece The Tiger Lily (today's botanical name: Lilium lancifolium , old name: Lilium tigrinum ):

Lilium tigrinum. Very strongly bent back petals of a made-up, waxy red that is delicate, but of high luminosity and speckled with numerous flaws. These blemishes are distributed in a way that suggests that the living force that creates them is gradually weakening. They are completely absent at the top, while near the base of the calyx they are so powerfully protruded that they stand on high, fleshy outgrowths as if on stilts. Stamens the narcotic color of dark reddish-brown velvet, ground into powder. In sight, the idea of ​​an Indian juggler tent emerges, inside of which a soft, preparatory music can be heard.

The method of this combination of keen observation and dreamy receptivity, as presented here, is what the author calls stereoscopy , a form of perception that can simultaneously gain two sensory qualities from the same sound . However, for disciples intuitive receptivity is of a higher order.

With our understanding it is so that it can attack both from the periphery and at the center. In the first case man has the diligence of ants, in the other case he has the gift of intuition. For the mind that grasps the focus, the knowledge of the surroundings takes second place - similar to the one who has the master key of a house, the keys to the individual rooms are of less importance. (The Master Key, p. 22)

What is to be developed is the harmony of things that is hidden behind a dichotomy - the dichotomy that exists between the surface and the depth of life.

Often the meaning of depth seems to be to create the surface, the rainbow-colored skin of the world, the sight of which moves us urgently. Then again this colorful pattern seems to be composed only of signs and letters, through which the depth speaks to us of its secrets.


  • Ernst Jünger: The adventurous heart. Records by day and night. Frundsberg-Verlag, Berlin 1929
  • Ernst Jünger: The adventurous heart. Figures u. Capriccios . 2nd version, Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, Hamburg 1938, several editions there until 1945 - including several Wehrmacht editions -, 1944 a special edition for the Reichskommissariat Ostland.
  • Ernst Jünger: The adventurous heart . Ullstein, Frankfurt (M.), Berlin, Vienna 1972, ISBN 3-548-02903-5 (2nd version, paperback)
  • Ernst Jünger: Complete Works in 18 Volumes, Volume 9, Essays III: The Adventurous Heart . Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1979, ISBN 3-12-904191-5 and ISBN 3-12-904691-7 (contains both versions)
  • Ernst Jünger, Günter Figal (Ed.): The adventurous heart. Figures and capriccios . Reclam Philipp Jun, Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 978-3-15-018680-0 .

Secondary literature

  • Norbert Staub: Risk without a world. Ernst Jünger's book "The Adventurous Heart" and its context. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 1999, ISBN 3-8260-1685-8 .
  • Albert C. Eibl: The forest walk of the "adventurous heart". On Ernst Jünger's aesthetics of resistance in the shadow of the swastika. Winter, Heidelberg 2020, ISBN 978-3-8253-6957-6 .