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Erich Maria Remarque is in many ways the quintessential twentieth-century man. Caught between the intense nineteenth-century nationalism of his youth and the dissolution and despair brought on by World War I, Remarque embodies the psychological and existential dilemmas of his generation. Though Remarque is remembered in the United States primarily
as the author of All Quiet on the Western Front, his life and work intersect nearly every important moment of this century. He fought in the German army during World War I, suffering the plight of returning veterans in Weimar Germany. He turned this experience into All Quiet, one of the most influential novels of our time. With the wealth he gained from the popularity of All Quiet, he became one of the century's first playboys. He also became a connoisseur of fine art and antiques, collecting an outstanding group of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. The perception of All Quiet as a pacifist novel and Remaque's heartfelt indignation about human suffering made him a spokeman against fascism in all forms, especially during World War II. His literary career made him the center of the publishing world for dacades. It also opened the door of world of cinema, through which he entered the world of glamor. His numerous lovers included Marlene Dietrich and Natasha Paley Wilson, and he counted among his friends Ingrid Bergman, Greta Garbo, and many other Hollywood stars.

But for all his fame and status, Remarque remained unsure of himself and his talent, and felt like one of the émigrés who people his novels. Thomas Thornton, the curator of this exhibition, likens Remarque's life to the German Romantic wanderer figure--a lonely man on a perpetual search for emotional fullfilment, a sense of identity, and a place to call home. As the image of his many passports on the cover of the catalogue shows, Remarque could not stop travelling--at least not until he met actress Paulette Goddard, with whom he finally found solace and an end to his wandering. Drawing on the extensive Erich Maria Remarque and Paulette Goddard Papers, and on the Erich Maria Remarque Library held here at the Fales Library, Thornton gives us a sympathetic and personal view of Remarque; he goes beyond the fame and glamor, showing Remarque's strengths as well as his vulnerabilities, and leaving us with a sense of his intense humanity.


It is an honor for the Fales Library and New York University to commemorate the centennial of Erich Mariah Remarque's birth with this exibition and catalogue. It is also great pleasure for us to celebrate the generous donation of the Erich Maria Remarque and Paulette Goddard Papers and Library, which were donated by Paulette Goddard in 1990. The papers contain more than 62,000 pages of diaries, manuscripts, letters, photographs, documents, and personal effects. The library comprises more than 3,000 volumes from Remarque's library, including copies of all his books and an extensive collection of translations. We are happy, indeed, that Erich Maria Remarque found a home at New York University.





Marvin J.Taylor
Director,Fales Library


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