On the The Darkness of the Will

“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).