Based on Remark’s biography, one could write a book, but he didn’t allow anyone to do it - even to his closest friend from his native Osnabrück. Remark's father was a bookbinder, so there were always a lot of different books at home. From a young age, the love of reading was instilled in children in the family. It was here, in his father’s library, that Remarque discovered Dostoevsky, Mann, Proust, Zweig and Goethe. Then, as a boy, Erich Paul could not even imagine that the idols of his youth in the future would not once speak of the novels written by him: Mann, for example, would react negatively to the grandiose advertising hype around the works of Remarque, Zweig also would not find in them something especially outstanding.
But it will not be soon: for now it is just a child who enthusiastically reads the next story of a favorite author. He will go to church school, then to the Catholic teacher’s seminary, and then to the royal school. At first, Remarque seriously thought about the career of a public school teacher, but life had completely different plans for him. Fritz Herstemeyer, who became his friend at the Royal Seminary, was the first person to notice the literary abilities of his comrade. Remark was 17 years old when he started writing. He even joined the literary Circle of Dreams, but then the war broke out, and in 1916, the boy of yesterday became a soldier.
Erich Maria Remarque
He was never in the line of fire, but he knew firsthand about the soldiers. In 1917, he was on the Western Front, where he was seriously wounded, because of which he spent the rest of the war in the hospital. In 1918, he was overtaken by the tragic news of the death of the mother. At the same time Remarque changes his middle name, given to him at birth, Paul, in the name of the deceased mother.
After the war, a young man tries to find himself in different professions: a teacher, a tombstone seller, a Sunday organist in a chapel at a hospital for the mentally ill ... In 1921, Erich Maria became an editor in the Echo Continental magazine. Many of the plots of that hectic time will be transformed later into literary collisions, and people from the life of Remarque will become the prototypes of his characters.
Thus, the prototype of Pat from Remarque’s novel Three Comrades was the writer's first wife, the former dancer of Ils Jutt Zambon. Difficult lifelong relationships will link them: four years in marriage, divorce, remarriage (so that Elsa can leave Germany) and divorce again ... The former spouses will carry the affection and respect for each other through the decades: after death Remarque will Yutte part of their savings.
Ilse Jutta Zambon
The work that turned the life of Remarque upside down was the novel “No Change on the Western Front”. Written in six weeks, half a year lying "in the table" after several unsuccessful stories, this work will become a literary sensation and the subject of large-scale discussions.
The author was nominated for the Nobel Prize, but this decision was protested by the League of German officers. What did not accuse Remarque: in writing a custom work for the Entente, and stealing a manuscript from a dead comrade ... All these events undermined the writer's delicate mental organization, he began to drink a lot, left his wife, and soon left Swiss town Ascona. At home, in Germany, Remarque will be accused of betraying the nation, Hitler would call his compatriot French Jew, and in May 1933, Remark’s book would be publicly burned, and he would be deprived of German citizenship.
In Switzerland, Remarque will not linger for a long time: a new love will burst into his life - the fatal and beautiful Marlene Dietrich, which will open his way to Hollywood. Relations with her were unbearably agonizing for Remarque, largely due to the frivolousness of the chosen one. It is Marlene who will become the prototype of Joan Madu from his “Triumphal Arch”, it is about her that he will write over many years: “There is no longer any beautiful legend. Its end. Old Lost What a terrible word. ”
Here, in the USA, he wrote the book “The Spark of Life” in memory of his sister Elfried Scholz, executed in a Berlin prison for “outrageous fanatical propaganda in favor of the enemy”, or rather, for her sharp rejection of the fascist regime.
Also comes the novel "Black Obelisk". It is believed that this love story of the main character with a mentally ill girl Remarque put a fat point in his relations with Jutta and Marlene, and said goodbye to his native Germany.
Perhaps because he, being a citizen of America, met his last love in New York - actress Paulette Godard. Behind her was a marriage with Charlie Chaplin, numerous acquaintances in the field of art and memorable roles in the cinema. Behind him - the screen version of the five novels, fame, favor of Hollywood beauties and ... depression.
Remarque called Paulette his salvation: probably it was so ... He devotes his “Time to live and time to die” to a new muse, in 1957 he was finally divorced from Yutta, and in 1958 he would marry Godard.
Over the years of living together, they are experiencing and the release of new novels Remarque, and the assignment of the title of Honorary Citizen of the city of Ascona, and the appropriation of the Order of Germany (but not the return of German citizenship), and the deterioration of the writer's health ...
He was buried in Switzerland. Marlene Dietrich sent flowers as a token of condolences, but Paulette resolutely refused to accept them.
She, unlike her husband, could not let go of his past.