Erich Maria Remarque
pseudonym of Erich Paul Remark
born June 22, 1898, Osnabrück, Ger.
died Sept. 25, 1970, Locarno, Switz.
novelist who is chiefly remembered as the author of Im Westen nichts
Neues (1929; All Quiet on the Western Front), which became perhaps the
best-known and most representative novel dealing with World War I.
Remarque was drafted into the German army at the age of 18 and was
wounded several times. After the war he worked as a racing-car driver
and as a sportswriter while working on All Quiet on the Western Front.
The novelís events are those in the daily routine of soldiers who seem
to have no past or future apart from their life in the trenches. Its
title, the language of routine communiqués, is typical of its cool,
terse style, which records the daily horrors of war in laconic
understatement. Its casual amorality was in shocking contrast to
patriotic rhetoric. The book was an immediate international success, as
was the American film made from it in 1930. It was followed by a sequel,
Der Weg zurück (1931; The Road Back), dealing with the collapse of
Germany in 1918. Remarque wrote several other novels, most of them
dealing with victims of the political upheavals of Europe during World
Wars I and II. Some had popular success and were filmed (e.g., Arc de
Triomphe, 1946), but none achieved the critical prestige of his first
Remarque left Germany for Switzerland in 1932. His books were banned
by the Nazis in 1933. In 1939 he went to the United States, where he was
naturalized in 1947. After World War II he settled in Porto Ronco,
Switz., on Lake Maggiore, where he lived with his second wife, the
American actress Paulette Goddard, until his death.