Erich Maria Remarque was born on the 22nd of June, in 1989, in Osnabrück, Germany. He was the son of Peter Franz Remark, a bookbinder, while his mother, Anna Maria, was a housewife. Erich did not enjoy the delights of childhood as the family was constantly moving; the poverty-stricken life forced them to move eleven times during Remarque’s childhood. However, his parents raised him in a strict Catholic environment; they provided him with the ground to get religious grounding, which he later fictionalized in his written work.
As Erich’s parents were strict in terms of religious practices, they planned his education in accordance with their religious upbringing. Remark’s children attended local Präparande, where Remarque often got into scrapes with authorities. To pay for school expenses, Remarque used to give piano lessons to young girls. When time allowed, he used to collect stamps, stones, performed magic tricks, and loved to write essays and compose poems. After graduation, he attended the University of Münster and decided to opt teaching as a career but was drafted into the army by the end of World War I.
Erich Maria Remarque married thrice in life. First, he married Ilse Jutta Zambona, an actress in 1925. Unfortunately, both failed to develop a faithful relationship and got divorced in 1930. Even after official separation, they traveled together to Switzerland and remarried in 1938. Once again, they failed to maintain a healthy relationship and parted ways for good in 1957. Later, in 1958, he married Paulette Goddard, a famous American actress.
After leading a successful literary life, Erich Maria Remarque breathed his last on the 25th of September in 1970 and was buried in Switzerland at the Ronco Cemetery in Ronco. His wife, Paulette Goddard died in 1990 and she was buried next to him.
Some Important Facts of His Life
- His papers are housed at NYU’s Fales Library located in New York City.
- Her wife, Paulette Goddard, funded New York University with 20 million dollars to make ground for European studies.
- He is widely known for his famous anti-war novel, All Quiet on the Western Front
- The novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, was translated into twelve languages and adapted into a film in 1930.
Erich Maria Remarque started writing at a young age and gained immense popularity even when he was alive. Among his few initial attempts were essays, poems, and the beginning of the novel, which he later compiled and published in 1920 as, The Dream Room. The book was appreciated by the readers but his next work, All Quiet on the Western Front, earned a record success for. The novel speaks about the gruesome war experiences and the condition of those who survive the brutalities of war. The book also criticizes the disillusionment about the war that took many innocent youths. It was not only translated into many languages across the globe but also coined as a seminal work that truly exhibits the war and its aftermaths. This well-received work followed by other notable publications such as; The Road Back, Three Comrades, Three Comrades, and many other great works.
Erich’s popularity mainly rested on his thoughtful ideas and unconventional style. Using a distinctive style, he sheds light on the horrors of the trench warfare and the horrible sadness of losing friends on the battlefield. By applying techniques like irony, contrast, and foreshadowing, he talks about the emotions soldiers experienced in the frontlines. His works deal with the simple yet complex diction to enhance the unique perspective presented to the readers. He intentionally used this distinct style to separate himself from other writers. The recurring thematic strands in most of the writings are loss, injustices, and brutalities of the war. Regarding literary devices, he often turns to metaphors, foreshadowing, imagery, and similes to create a unique style.
Some Important Works of Erich Maria Remarque
- Best Novels: Some of his best books include All Quiet on the Western Front, The Dream Room, Station at the Horizon, The Road Back, Arch of Triumph, and Spark of Life.
- Other Works: He also tried his hands in other areas. Some of his other works include The Enemy, The Last Act; Play, Full Circle, and The Return of Enoch J. Jones; play.
Erich Maria Remarque’s Impacts on Future Literature
Erich Maria Remarque was a dynamic writer who started his writing career at his young age and became popular during his lifetime. His unique writing style and literary qualities of his masterpieces brought sea changes in public thinking. His distinctive writing approach and unique way of expression made him stand among the best anti-war writers of the world. Also, he had a significant influence on a diverse range of writers and critics and other influential figures about hostile patriotism and false glories of war.
- “I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another.” (All Quiet on the Western Front)
- “I did not want to think so much about her. I wanted to take her as an unexpected, delightful gift that had come and would go again — nothing more. I meant not to give room to the thought that it could ever be more. I knew too well that all love has the desire for eternity and that therein lies its eternal torment. Nothing lasts. Nothing.” (Three Comrades)
- “How senseless is everything that can ever be written, done, or thought, when such things are possible. It must be all lies and of no account when the culture of a thousand years could not prevent this stream of blood being poured out, these torture-chambers in their hundreds of thousands. A hospital alone shows what war is.” (All Quiet on the Western Front)