All Quiet | A Piece of Remark about Erich Maria Remarque
Erich Maria Remarque is one of my most favourite writers. Apart from his outstanding novels, I find him quite soulful and sensitive.
As many of you know, he was a young fighting soldier and the victim who bears the horror of the war. Therefore you can find the traces of characters without trust in anything but the sky in his books and you can clearly feel his own postwar trauma and the drama.
"All Quiet on the Western Front", one of the most known books of him, was a kind of therapeutic attempt to get rid of that depression and the feeling of desperation. At that times, he was working as the editor of the first German Sports Magazine, called "Sport im Bild". One evening, after returning from his office, he began writing and finished the book within a period of six weeks. From my perspective, the book is more like a characterization of the condition of being at war rather than a common story line. It is so real and so stunning with all normal dialogs between the characters.
The following preface of the book is actually a clear message to tell the main intention of the writer in writing this book:
"The book is to be neither an accusation nor a confesion, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by the war."
Obviously, Remarque was not the first writer to write a novel about the World War but he was one of the pioneers of a new trend in war novels which is called front-line novel. As in Remarque's novel, all the events were reporting consistently by using simple language and from the perspective of a simple soldier. All the other elements were connected to that events.
To me, one of the deepest part of this novel is its name. Thus, Remarque states the contradiction between the military point of view and the actual scene, the actual dying of millions of human beings.
From Remarque's graduation year, it is known that he wrote three poems — "C Sharp Minor," "Nocturne," and "Parting"; three sketches, "Ingeborg: An Awakening," "Beautiful Stranger," and "Hour of Release"; and two essays, "Nature and Art" and "Lilacs."
I couldn't find any of them so far. If you have or run across somewhere, please share with me!
Remarque condemns fanaticism and extremism in every form, no matter what political ideology it is inspired by. Just like me. Another common point of us and the reason why I am personally interested in him.
Once I saw a part of his interview with Newsweek somewhere that I would love to share to show our common point of view regarding the difference between Americans and European people:
"I now think of New York as my home. It is an unbelievable city. There is virtually everything here. I am very happy to have become an American. I have met exceedingly cultivated people in America. Americans have an innate sense of freedom, whether they realize it or not. They act toward each other that way. It is so easy to mix with others. This freedom is something it is very hard for a European, who has not observed it, to conceive of." Indeed it is.
To conclude with one of the underlined sentences of mine in the book:
"Bombardment, barrage, curtain-fire, mines, gas, tanks, machine-guns, hand-grenades--words, words, words, but they hold the horror of the world."