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`The Novels of Erich Maria Remarque

`The Novels of Erich Maria Remarque: Sparks of Life

Brian Murdoch
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 260
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  • Book Info
    `The Novels of Erich Maria Remarque
    Book Description:

    Erich Maria Remarque is a writer of great popularity who has rightly been described as a "chronicler of the twentieth century." He is both a German writer and a genuinely international one. Although he spent much of his life in exile from Germany, most of his novels reflect its twentieth-century history: the two world wars and the Weimar and Nazi regimes, and especially their effects on the individual. His portrayals of the lives of refugees from Nazi Germany are especially vivid. His themes are universal, dealing with human relationships, with love in particular, and with the provisional nature of life. Often seen as a one-novel writer due to the immense success of All Quiet on the Western Front, Remarque wrote many other novels, major works that have nearly all been filmed and have remained popular. Nor should it be ignored that his works are above all else immensely readable: not a negligible criterion. This new study of Remarque's novels treats them as a chronicle of the century, but also looks at them as works that go beyond the reflection of historical events. Brian Murdoch is Emeritus Professor of German at the University of Stirling, Scotland.

    eISBN: 978-1-57113-677-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
    B. O. M.
  4. Conventions of Reference
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. 1: Erich Paul Remark and Erich Maria Remarque: The Writer and His Works: Die Traumbude and Gam
    (pp. 1-29)

    In 1974 a volume appeared with the title100 Great Books: Masterpieces of All Time. The last part of that title was clearly taken seriously, because the Old Testament was ranked chronologically only ninth. Of course, one can always object to the choices made for collections like this, but it is of interest that only three German-language writers are included in this particular, and rather useful, English compilation, and that only one of them is a novelist; beside Immanuel Kant and Sigmund Freud, the sole German literary figure is Erich Maria Remarque, who had died only a few years earlier.¹...

  6. 2: From the Frog’s Perspective: Im Westen nichts Neues and Der Weg zurück
    (pp. 31-65)

    The title of this chapter, which considers Remarque’s two novels of the First World War, is a literal translation of the German phraseaus der Froschperspektive, which is usually translated as “worm’s eye view,” although frogs, unlike worms, have harsh voices as well as eyes. Remarque treated the First World War in both novels from this perspective, and although the second of them is set for the most part after the cessation of hostilities, the war informs it so completely thatDer Weg zurück(The Road Back), is not simply a sequel toIm Westen nichts Neues(All Quiet on...

  7. 3: Rootless in Weimar: Der schwarze Obelisk and Drei Kameraden
    (pp. 67-97)

    WhereDer Weg zurückis set around the birth of the Weimar Republic, two of Remarque’s novels are set entirely within the period of the republic itself, although neither was written during its existence.Drei Kameraden(Three Comrades) appeared first in 1936 in a Danish translation, then in English in 1937, and was finally published in German in the Netherlands in 1938.¹ It is possible to see it as the third part of a trilogy consisting ofIm Westen nichts NeuesandDer Weg zurück, and Remarque himself indicated as much in a preface attached to the earliest, unpublished version...

  8. 4: The First Europeans: Liebe Deinen Nächsten and Arc de Triomphe
    (pp. 99-127)

    Two of Remarque’s novels, both first published in America, are concerned with the precarious lives of refugees from the Nazis in Europe during the period from Hitler’s coming to power to the outbreak of the Second World War. The emotional rootlessness of the Weimar novels has become real in these works. The first of them carried the motto, in the English version: “To live without roots takes a stout heart.” Long omitted from German editions, it has now been restored, albeit with a singular noun: “Man braucht ein starkes Herz, um ohne Wurzel zu leben —.”Liebe Deinen Nächsten(Flotsam)...

  9. 5: Shadows: Die Nacht von Lissabon and Schatten im Paradies/Das gelobte Land
    (pp. 129-157)

    Remarque returned to the refugee theme in two more novels, only one of which was published in his lifetime.Die Nacht von Lissabon(The Night in Lisbon) first appeared in book form, after the customary serialization, in 1962, and was the last novel he saw published. It is also a work of high quality.¹Schatten im Paradies(Shadows in Paradise) appeared in the year after Remarque’s death, 1971, in a text published by his widow, Paulette Goddard. Although it existed in a complete manuscript that was edited and to an extent cut by the publisher (Droemer-Knaur in Munich rather than...

  10. 6: Educating Germany: Der Funke Leben and Zeit zu leben und Zeit zu sterben
    (pp. 159-193)

    In spite of the undeniable causal links between the end of the First World War and the conditions that led eventually to a new war, the Second World War was different from the First, not a barely comprehensible universal bloodletting, but a concentrated war against National Socialism.¹ Remarque himself had written in 1944 (in a piece that survives in a typescript in English) on how Germany was to be educated after the Second World War, pointing out that the full horrors of the Nazi regime would need to be laid open.² His comments are in a sense those of an...

  11. 7: The Lap of the Gods: From Station am Horizont to Der Himmel kennt keine Günstlinge
    (pp. 195-224)

    Remarque’s occasional dismissal as a trivial writer presumably rests upon the fact that some of his novels have seemed insignificant in terms of content. For most of his works this criticism clearly does not apply: their subjects are the defining political themes of twentieth-century history — war, refugees, the struggle for survival in situations of hardship. On the human level, however, there are overarching themes that link all of his novels, whether their setting is expressly political or not. Probably the most significant is that used by Remarque as a title for his concentration camp novel: Der Funke Leben, the...

  12. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 225-238)
  13. Index
    (pp. 239-245)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 246-246)