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10. Homecoming. Jan Patočka’s Reflections on the First World War

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Chapter Summary

Jan Patočka's reflections on the First World War are among the challenging writings produced in response to the war to end all wars. Patočka's reflections on the First World War also close with the problem of homecoming and the return of the dead: how to bring the significance of the First World War back to the world of natural existence? And yet, in contrast with Gance's J'accuse, Patočka's homecoming is not the haunting of the living by the dead, but the haunting of the living by another form of living, or existence, transfigured by the front and who, in this crucible of rebirth and revelation, embody an insight and perspective from which to haunt the return of the day that characterizes the post-war. The call to conscience drawn from the front in the testimonials of Teilhard de Chardin and Junger is meant to awaken the living to their own deadness.

Keywords: First World War; Jan Patocka; testimonials of Junger; testimonials of Teilhard de Chardin



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