Erich Maria Remarque


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Remarque, Erich Maria

 

Born June 22, 1898, in Osnabrück; died Sept. 25, 1970, in Locarno, Switzerland. German writer.

Remarque fought in World War I. After the war he worked as a teacher, commercial agent, reporter, and editor. His novel All Quiet on the Western Front (1929; Russian translation, 1929) gained world renown. Beginning in 1932 he lived abroad; subsequently, the fascist government deprived him of German citizenship.

In All Quiet on the Western Front, a representative work of the “lost generation,” Remarque depicted the dull, everyday routine at the front, which retained only elementary forms of the solidarity that united the soldiers in the face of death. In the novel The Road Back (1931; Russian translation, 1936) he showed that, with the war over, social inequality destroyed the illusory harmony that existed in the brotherhood of the front. The tragic idea that friendship between men and love are the last refuge against hostile forces was at the base of the novel Three Comrades (1938; Russian translation, 1958). In the novel Arch of Triumph (1946; Russian translation, 1959) the antifascist theme received a striking treatment. After the novel Spark of Life (1952), which is set in a Nazi concentration camp, Remarque wrote the novel A Time to Live and a Time to Die (1954; Russian translation, 1956; published in the United States as A Time to Love and a Time to Die), a collective portrait of the lost generation during World War II. In the novel The Black Obelisk (1956; Russian translation, 1961) the writer sought to warn, in light of the tragic experience of the past, against a resurgence of the militaristic spirit in the Federal Republic of Germany. His late works—the novels Gebortes Leben (1959; Russian translation, 1960) and The Night in Lisbon (1963; Russian translation, 1965)—are marred by literary clichés.

Individualistic pacifism and the lack of a distinct positive program constitute the weak side of Remarque’s work. Remarque’s success with readers is based on the social criticism contained in his best works and the humanity and moral fascination of the books’ heroes.

REFERENCES

Suchkov, B. “Kniga, kotoraia sudit.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1955, no. 4.
Fradkin, I. “Remark i spory o nem.” Voprosy literatury, 1963, no. 1.
Antkowiak, A. “E. Remarque.” In P. Toper and A. Antkowiak, L. Renn und E. M. Remarque. (Schriftsteller der Gegenwart, fasc. 14.) Berlin, 1965.

I. M. FRADKIN

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