“For the will desires not to be dark, and this very desire causes the darkness” (Jacob Boehme). Moving through the fundamental question of this paradox, this book offers a constellation of theoretical and critical essays that shed light on the darkness of the will: its obscurity to itself. Through indepth analysis of medieval and modern sources — Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius, Eriugena, Dante, Meister Eckhart, Chaucer, Nietzsche, Cioran, Meher Baba — this volume interrogates the nature and meaning of the will, along seven modes: spontaneity, potentiality, sorrow, matter, vision, eros, and sacrifice. These multiple lines of inquiry are finally presented to coalesce around one fundamental point of agreement: the will says yes, yet only a will that knows how to say no to itself, entering the silence of its own darkness, will ever be free.

Nicola Masciandaro, Professor of English at Brooklyn College (CUNY), is a writer and theorist specializing in medieval literature. He is the editor of the journal Glossator (Open Humanities Press) and author/co-author of The Voice of the Hammer (2007), Dark Nights of the Universe (2013), Sufficient Unto the Day (2014), Floating Tomb: Black Metal Theory (2015), and SACER (2017).