Erich Maria Remarque
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"The days stand like angels in gold and blue, beyond our grasp, over the circle of destruction."--All Quiet on the Western Front (1929) by Erich Maria Remarque
On 12 June, 1917 he was transferred to the Western Front, 2nd Company, Reserves, Field Depot of the 2nd Reserves Guards Division at Hem-Lenglet. On 26 June, he was stationed between Thorhut and Houthulst, Trench Battalion Bethe (Name of commander), 2nd Company of the 15th Reserve Infantry Regiment. On 31 July he was wounded by shrapnel in the left leg, right arm and neck, and repatriated to an army hospital in Germany, where he spent the rest of the war.
After the war he changed his last name to Remarque, which had been the family-name until his grandfather changed it due to 19th Century German xenophobia. He worked at a number of different jobs, including librarian, businessman, teacher, journalist and editor.
In 1929, Remarque published his most famous work, All Quiet on the Western Front (Im Westen nichts Neues) under the name Erich Maria Remarque (changing his middle name in honor of his mother), the novel described the utter cruelty of the war from the perspective of a twenty-year-old soldier. A number of similar works followed; in simple, emotive language they realistically described wartime and the postwar years. An opposite view is found in Storm of Steel (In Stahlgewittern) by Ernst Jünger.
In 1933, the Nazis banned and burned Remarque's works, and issued propaganda stating that he was a descendant of French Jews and that his real last name was Kramer, a Jewish-sounding name, and his original name spelled backwards. This is still listed in some biographies despite the complete lack of proof. Also despite clear evidence to the contrary, their assertion that he had never seen active service remains in some references.
Remarque had been living in Switzerland since 1931, and in 1939 he emigrated to the United States of America with his first wife, Ilsa Jeanne Zamboui, whom he married and divorced twice, and they became naturalized citizens of the United States in 1947. In 1948 he went to Switzerland, where he spent the rest of his life. He married the Hollywood actress Paulette Goddard in 1958 and they remained married until his death in 1970 at age 72. He is interred in the Ronco cemetery in Ronco, Ticino, Switzerland, where Goddard is also interred. Goddard left a bequest of $20 million to New York University to fund an institute for European study which is named after Remarque. The first Director of The Remarque Institute was Professor Tony Judt.
- Die Traumbude (1920) Debut novel
- Im Westen nichts Neues (1929), (All Quiet on the Western Front), its film adaptation
- Der Weg zurück (1931), (The Road Back)
- Drei Kameraden (1937), (Three Comrades), its film adaptation
- Liebe deinen Nächsten (1941), (Flotsam)
- Arc de Triomphe (1946), (Arch of Triumph), its film adaptations Arch of Triumph (1948 film) and Arch of Triumph (1985 film)
- Der Funke Leben (1952), (The Spark of Life)
- Zeit zu leben und Zeit zu sterben (1954), (A Time to Live and a Time to Die )
- Der schwarze Obelisk (1956), (The Black Obelisk)
- Die letzte Station (1956, play), (Full Circle)
- Der Himmel kennt keine Günstlinge (1961), (Heaven Has No Favorites), its film adaptation Bobby Deerfield
- Die Nacht von Lissabon (1963), (The Night in Lisbon)
- Schatten im Paradies (published posthumously, 1971), (Shadows in Paradise)
His books have been translated into at least 58 languages.