Erich Maria Remarque

Dylan Lukes and Alissa Makligh

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The German-born American author Erich Maria Remarque was a popular novelist whose All Quiet on the Western Front, describing the soldier's life in World War I (1914–1918). It was a best seller, which sold almost one million and a half copies the first year it was published in 25 languages and was filmed 3 times.

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Erich Maria Remarque

His real name is Erich Paul Remark. He was born on July 22, 1898 in Osnabrück, Germany. However, his family was poor and moved at least eleven times during Remarque's childhood. He began writing at age sixteen or seventeen. He attended the University of Münster, but was drafted into the army towards the end of the World War I.

By 1929 Remarque had left Germany and lived in Switzerland. The pacifism (opposition to war or violence) in his works and their strong sense of sadness and suffering made them very unpopular with the Nazi government (the controlling party in Germany beginning in the 1930s that scorned democracy and considered all non-Germans, and especially Jewish people, as inferior). In 1938, in fact, Remarque was stripped of his German citizenship.

In 1939 Remarque arrived in the United States, and he became an American citizen in 1947. His next novel, Liebe deinen Nächsten (1940), was published in America under the title Flotsam. After World War II (1939–45), in which Germany, Japan, and Italy were defeated by the Allies (including the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union, among others), Remarque's productivity increased, and he turned more and more to the study of personal relationships set against a background of war and social destruction. Arc de Triomphe (1946), the story of a German refugee (someone who is forced to live outside of his or her own country) doctor in Paris, France, just before World War II, returned Remarque's name to the best-seller lists.

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While recovering in a German hospital from wounds suffered during the war, Remarque worked on Die Traumbude ( The Dream Room ), his first novel, which was published in 1920. After the war he worked as a press reader, teacher, salesman, and racing driver, among other professions.

Other Books

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His next book was also a war novel, Der Weg zurück (1931; The Road Back).
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Drei Kameraden (1937; Three Comrades) deals with life in postwar Germany and is also a tragic love story.

Remarque's later works include Zeit zu leben und Zeit zu sterben (1954;A Time to Love and a Time to Die), Der schwarze Obelisk

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His other works are Der Funke Leben (1957; Spark of Life), Der Himmel kennt keine Günstlinge (1961; Heaven Has No Favorites), and Die Nacht von Lissabon (1962; The Night in Lisbon). All these novels are gripping and skillful stories of personal crisis, escape, and adventure. Remarque also had one play produced, Die letzte Station (1956; The Last Station). Erich Maria Remarque died in Locarno, Switzerland, on September 25, 1970.