In these worthy circumstances, I entered the secret order of Shandeans

From Ernst Junger’s The Adventurous Heart: Figures and Capriccios (pg. 8, Telos press edition), a further elaboration of the episode mentioned at the end of Storm of Steel

During the skirmishes near Bapaume, I had Tristram Shandy in a handy little volume in my map case, and it was still with me when we stood ready by Favreuil.  Since we were kept waiting back at the artillery placements from morning until late afternoon, things soon got very boring, though our position was not without danger.  So I began to turn its pages, and before long the entwined style, riddles with an assortment of lights, established itself as a secret accompanying voice in a chiaroscuro harmony with the outer circumstances.  After having read a few chapters with many interruptions, we finally got the order to attack; I put the book away and by sunset I already lay wounded on the ground.

I picked up the thread again in the field hospital, as if all that lay between had been a dream or belonged to the content of the book itself, as the activation of some extraordinary mental power.  I was given morphine, and I continued reading, at one moment awake, at the next in a half-twilight, so that a variety of different mental states chopped up and re-parceled the myriad layers of the text one more time.  Fever attacks combated with Burgundy and codeine, artillery barrages, and bomb-droppings over our zone, through which a streaming retreat had already begun, during which we were sometimes completely forgotten – all this only increased the entanglements, so that today I am left with only a blurred memory of those days, of a half-sensitive, half-frenzied agitation in which even a volcanic eruption would not have astonished me, and during which poor old Yorick and honest Uncle Toby were the most trustworthy characters that presented themselves.

In these worthy circumstances, I entered the secret order of Shandeans, to which I have remained loyal to this day.

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