Jünger, Ernst. The Storm of Steel. Translated by Basil Creighton. 1929. Reprint, New York: Howard Fertig, 1975.
The following is a transcription of an excerpt from Ernst Jünger’s book The Storm of Steel.
We detrained at Bohain again and went into quarters in the village of Brancourt, near by. This was a neighbourhood we often touched upon in later days. It was agricultural, and yet there was a loom in nearly every house. The inhabitants did not appeal to me. They were dirty and of a very low moral development. I was billeted on a cottage where lived a man and his wife and their daughter. I must own that in return for my money they made me most excellent dishes of eggs. The daughter told me over the first cup of coffee that she was going ‘to drink a good coffee with Poincaré after his return,’ by which she meant, give him a piece of her mind. I have never heard any one so fluent in abuse as this filia hospitalis, particularly on the topic of a neighbor whom she accused of having lived in a certain street of St. Quentin. ‘Ah cette p’lure, cette pomme de terre pourrie, jetée sur un fumier. C’est la crème de la crème,’ she spluttered while she raged round the room stretching out her hands like claws in the vain search for an object on which to vent her wrath.
In the morning, when this rose of Brancourt was busied making butter or some other domestic matter, she looked unbelievably uninviting. Yet in the afternoon, when it came to parading the village street with pride or visiting her friends, the ugly grub had turned into the splendid butterfly.
This excerpt was taken from the 1975 reprinting of a 1929 English translation of The Storm of Steel (the German name of the book is In Stahlgewittern). I have been unable to determine where the first publication (which is in German) is that was published in 1920. However, both the Library of Congress and the German National Archive (the Bundesarchiv) hold other editions of the book from the 1920’s.
The translator of this edition was Basil Creighton, who translated other German literature such as Steppenwolf from Hermann Hesse. While Creighton’s work is extensive, his translation is not perfect. According to Michael Hoffman, the translator for the 2004 edition of The Storm of Steel has criticized Creighton’s translation, calling his knowledge of German “patchy” (Hoffman, xiv).
The publisher of the 1975 reprint was a New York based company, Howard Fertig. The publisher of the 1929 English translation that the 1975 reprints was a London based company, Chatto & Windus.
Each new publication of the book most likely saw editions from various editors, but Jünger himself did play a role in editing new publications.
There were several textual interventions in the making of the book and each publication. The most obvious one is translation. The Storm of Steel is Jünger’s diary from World War I, in which he wrote in German. This led to the necessity of a translator for an English version of the book to exist. As noted previously, the translations could be inaccurate.
Other textual interventions include Jünger’s own editions, concerning what he believed should be in the book and what should not be. Ultimately, due to the various editions now available, it is likely that many instances of textual intervention took place.
Jünger, Ernst. The Storm of Steel. Translated by Michael Hoffman. New York: Penguin Group, 2004.