Remarque, Erich Maria (1898–1970) By Gammel, Irene
Born Erich Paul Remark in Osnabrück, Germany, Erich Maria Remarque is best known for his influential anti-war novel Im Westen nichts Neues (1929, All Quiet on the Western Front). First serialized in the Vossische Zeitung in 1928, All Quiet was launched with an unprecedented advertising campaign. Hailed as ‘the great war novel’, the book spawned a world-wide readership with translations into over twenty-five languages, and a film (directed by Lewis Milestone) in 1930. Written within just a few months in 1927, All Quiet on the Western Front toys with autobiographical references. The protagonist Paul Bäumer is a nineteen-year old war veteran whose seemingly non-consequential death in October 1918, on a ‘quiet’ day on the Western front, stands for the shared fate of millions of soldiers obscured by the unprecedented violence and horror of World War I. Remarque changed his name after the war, dropping his middle name Paul, and adopting his mother’s name, Maria, while also Gallicizing the spelling of his last name, thereby blurring national boundaries.