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Erich Maria Remarques Roman»Im Westen nichts Neues«. Text, Edition, Entstehung, Distribution und Rezeption (–). [Erich Maria Remarque's Novel. Westen nichts Neues', is an exception as it explores the techniques (the . Rezeption von Erich Maria Remarques Im Westen nichts Neues, ', Lili- . Erich Maria Remarque's Im Westen nichts Neues () remains, even after ninety years, a touchstone for writers caught in the paradox of.

Though Kropp initially plans to commit suicide if he requires an amputation, the book suggests he postponed suicide because of the strength of military camaraderie. Paul comments that saying farewell was "very hard, but it is something a soldier learns to deal with. Overall, his size and behavior make him seem older than Paul, yet he is the same age as Paul and his school-friends roughly 19 at the start of the book.

Haie, in addition, has a good sense of humour.

Carrying his old school books with him to the battlefield, he constantly reminds himself of the importance of learning and education. Even while under enemy fire, he "mutters propositions in physics".

He became interested in Kemmerich's boots and inherits them when Kemmerich dies early in the novel. He is killed later in the book after being shot point-blank in the stomach with a "light pistol" flare gun. As he was dying "quite conscious and in terrible pain", he gave his boots which he inherited from Kemmerich to Paul. Stanislaus "Kat" Katczinsky[ edit ] Kat has the most positive influence on Paul and his comrades on the battlefield. He also represents a literary model highlighting the differences between the younger and older soldiers.

Kat is also well known for his ability to scavenge nearly any item needed, especially food. At one point he secures four boxes of lobster. Katczinsky leaves for a short while, returning with straw to put over the bare wires of the beds.

Later, to feed the hungry men, Kat brings bread, a bag of horse flesh, a lump of fat, a pinch of salt and a pan in which to cook the food. Kat is hit by shrapnel at the end of the story, leaving him with a smashed shin. Paul carries him back to camp on his back, only to discover upon their arrival that a stray splinter had hit Kat in the back of the head and killed him on the way.

He is thus the last of Paul's close friends to die in battle. I am so alone, and so without hope that I can confront them without fear. Before the war, Tjaden was a locksmith. Throughout the book, Paul frequently remarks on how much of an eater he is, yet somehow manages to stay as "thin as a rake". He appears in the sequel, The Road Back. Among twenty enlistees was Joseph Behm, the first of the class to die in battle. In an example of tragic irony, Behm was the only one who did not want to enter the war.

Kantorek is a hypocrite, urging the young men he teaches to fight in the name of patriotism, while not voluntarily enlisting himself. In a twist of fate, Kantorek is later called up as a soldier as well. He is very popular with women; when he and his comrades meet three French women, he is the first to seduce one of them.

In chapter 11, Leer is hit by a shell fragment, which also hits Bertinck. The shrapnel tears open Leer's hip, causing him to bleed to death quickly. His death causes Paul to ask himself, "What use is it to him now that he was such a good mathematician in school?

His men have a great respect for him, and Bertinck has great respect for his men. He permits them to eat the rations of the men that had been killed in action, standing up to the chef Ginger who would only allow them their allotted share.

Bertinck is genuinely despondent when he learns that few of his men had survived an engagement. When he and the other characters are trapped in a trench under heavy attack, Bertinck, who has been injured in the firefight, spots a flamethrower team advancing on them.

He gets out of cover and takes aim on the flamethrower but misses, and gets hit by enemy fire. With his next shot he kills the flamethrower, and immediately afterwards an enemy shell explodes on his position blowing off his chin. The same explosion also fatally wounds Leer.

He is a power-hungry corporal with special contempt for Paul and his friends, taking sadistic pleasure in punishing the minor infractions of his trainees during their basic training in preparation for their deployment. Paul later figures that the training taught by Himmelstoss made them "hard, suspicious, pitiless, and tough" but most importantly it taught them comradeship.

Himmelstoss later joins them at the front, revealing himself as a coward who shirks his duties for fear of getting hurt or killed, and pretends to be wounded because of a scratch on his face. Detering[ edit ] Detering is a farmer who constantly longs to return to his wife and farm. He is also fond of horses and is angered when he sees them used in combat. He says, "It is of the vilest baseness to use horses in the war," when the group hears several wounded horses writhe and scream for a long time before dying during a bombardment.

He tries to shoot them to put them out of their misery, but is stopped by Kat to keep their current position hidden. He is driven to desert when he sees a cherry tree in blossom, which reminds him of home too much and inspires him to leave. He is found by military police and court-martialed, and is never heard from again. Josef Hamacher[ edit ] Hamacher is a patient at the Catholic hospital where Paul and Albert Kropp are temporarily stationed.

He has an intimate knowledge of the workings of the hospital. He also has a "Special Permit," certifying him as sporadically not responsible for his actions due to a head wound, though he is clearly quite sane and exploiting his permit so he can stay in the hospital and away from the war as long as possible.

Franz Kemmerich[ edit ] A young boy of only 19 years.

Im Westen Nichts Neues

Kemmerich is shot in the leg early in the story; his injured leg has to be amputated, and he dies shortly after. While in the hospital, someone steals Kemmerich's watch that he intended to give to his mother, causing him great distress and prompting him to ask about his watch every time his friends visit him in the hospital.

Paul later finds the watch and hands it over to Kemmerich's mother, only to lie and say Franz died instantly and painlessly when questioned.

Joseph Behm[ edit ] A student in Paul's class who is described as youthful and overweight. Behm was the only student that was not quickly influenced by Kantorek's patriotism to join the war, but eventually, due to pressure from friends and Kantorek, he joins the war.

He is the first of Paul's friends to die. He is blinded in no man's land and believed to be dead by his friends. The next day, when he is seen walking blindly around no-man's-land , it is discovered that he was only unconscious.

There is another way of thinking about war, and it involves recalling, writing, and memorializing, with attention drawn now not to a heady affirmation of the specular and how it is wedded to spectacles and to the spectacular, but to admissions of impoverishment and powerlessness.

As noted, war has the power to shatter not just worlds but also words. Soldiers are destined to play roles in combat and to behold spectacles, and they may thereby make deep gains in understanding.

Still, as we shall see, words can fail them, and language can lose its power to signify, to create a coherent narrative that will make sense of the macabre scenes before them and capture epiphanic experience.

Combat puts so much pressure on ordinary, conversational language that it no longer serves the social purpose of communicating or imparting information, knowledge, and wisdom.

On the home front, words become empty signifiers. War creates a new discursive field, one that annexes only those features used to misrepresent, lie, hoodwink, and deceive. War enshrines duplicity as the ultimate strategic weapon. Strategies require the withholding of meaning; camouflage means concealing, and bluffing can only be done by misleading. Censorship, encryption, euphemism, the fetishizing and costuming of honor, glory, and courage in propaganda—these all belong to the arsenal of weapons used by the military to win its victories, not just in war games but through language games as well.

Violence does not just shatter fiction, foreclosing the possibility of representation and the telling of stories.

It also demolishes all the social fictions that prop up the notion of civilization and structure ordinary lives. What sort of fiction, poetry, or drama might thrive on mass death, injury, and loss, other than the voyeuristic, the exploitative, or the simply sadistic? Might war writing even perpetuate war, glorify violence, and obscure suffering? How do writers manage to represent the grotesqueries of warfare without descending into the predictable pious orthodoxies that glorify pain and suffering as paths to resurrection and salvation?

Or exploit pain as a source of pleasure? Or indulge in any of the other unspeakable reflexes of representing atrocities? The Fog of War The crisis of language felt by combatants who try to report the war experience mirrors exactly what happens in war: the undoing of the world and the unmaking of culture, with a blurring of boundaries and a breakdown of perception, cognition, and representation.

Im Westen nichts Neues

How could soldiers possibly translate what they had seen and experienced into words and then convey that experience to those at the home front, men and women who did not necessarily want to listen to victims and survivors replay the horrors of what seemed by then emphatically over? Or who reacted with the predictable mix of revulsion and pity? Never mind the veiled contempt many combatants felt for those who had sat out the war on the home front. Errol Morris's film The Fog of War takes for its title a trope first used by Carl von Clausewitz in his book Vom Krieg , a treatise on military strategy written after the Napoleonic wars.

War, in other words, clouds our judgment, making it challenging to sort out the facts and to determine how to advance. Dusk is one of many conditions that make for flawed perception, and Clausewitz presciently wrote about how war produces a kind of twilight that makes things seem grotesque. Fog, twilight, smoke, haze, mists, vapors, gases, clouds, dust, steam, and miasma: all these forms of filminess impair vision, blurring it and making it a flimsy mode of perception.

The disabling of the perceptual and cognitive apparatus has as its immediate consequence the inability to navigate a terrain. Was ist das? Castorp has entered the precincts of a world marked by disintegration—dark, opaque, and lacking formal boundaries. He has entered what is literally no man's land. In this zone it is not easy to sort out what separates causes from effects, and readers quickly realize that soldiers who enter the war zone transform themselves into cogs operating within a vast, surreal machinery that has refashioned the human world.

O'Brien discovers in war an obscuring miasma that sets binary categories in crisis. All the cultural contradictions that mark the human condition are upended, for gone are the mediating terms and mitigating factors that enable us to create meaning and operate with any kind of certainty: War has the feel—the spiritual texture—of a great ghostly fog, thick and permanent.

There is no clarity. Everything swirls. The old rules are no longer binding, the old truths no longer true. Right spills over into wrong. Order blends into chaos, love into hate, ugliness into beauty, law into anarchy, civility into savagery. The vapors suck you in. You can't tell where you are, or why you're there, and the only certainty is absolute ambiguity.

What we cannot tolerate is the collapse of those oppositions and the loss of the ability to differentiate one from the other. As readers, we move from passages of quiet, lyrical beauty to episodes of raw violence and devastating emotional turmoil.

Before addressing the question of how much Im Westen nichts Neues is driven as much by the narration of facts as by the expression of feelings—and with that we move from the novel's aesthetics to the cultural work it does to recruit us as compassionate readers—it is worth pausing to determine how the novel is structured.

As a fictional autobiography, Im Westen nichts Neues is shaped in many ways by the conventions of various genres such as confessional literature, diaries, epistolary novels, prose poems, and dramatic monologues. But, curiously, it effaces the motivating cause of the writing, giving us the illusion of simply rendering thoughts at the moment in which they are experienced.

The unimpeachable simplicity of beginning and end suggests a dispassionate observer, one in full solidarity with the soldiers but also far removed from the morbid drama that has unfolded within the frame he has set up. Dorrit Cohn's useful distinction between fictional autobiographies and historical autobiographies reminds us that all texts are in some way autobiographical even when they are fictional and, simultaneously, they can never be truly autobiographical even when they are historical.

What does he hear?

Selected Bibliography

For several pages, we witness the tormented efforts of the dying man to speak, hear the gurgling again and again, mixed in with intermittent groans. What is the reflex to which he resorts in the face of that silence?

This sudden burst of loquaciousness is the only bulwark he can erect against the silence that seeps into his surroundings, immersing him in a sense of suffering, guilt, and dread. Ich habe gedacht an deine Handgranaten, an dein Bajonet und deine Waffen — jetzt sehe ich deine Frau und dein Gesicht und das Gemeinsame. Vergib mir, Kamerad! The printed word is both accomplice to the mute dead man and also some kind of quiet reminder that names and words cannot revivify or bring back the dead.

Neither the spoken word nor the written word can restore, reanimate, revivify, as this last desperate attempt to defeat death by impersonating the deceased a man who, in a touch of morbid irony, prints books makes clear. The crisis of speaking and writing in this scene of remorse encapsulates the negative dialectics of silence and speech, the futile effort to use language to fill the void left by death. And it further underscores the ineffectuality of borrowing from the dead to write their names a metonymic representation of their lives and to provide some form of consolation for the survivors.

Ironically, his narrative is pockmarked with shell holes, mutilated bodies, exploding landscapes, and disfigured faces, thereby undoing the very project of resurrection in which he is so deeply invested. We might just as well say that language becomes the site at which names become flesh and blood only to dissolve as language degenerates into disfigurement, dissolution, and decay in a vain effort to preserve, restore, and memorialize.

What better means of evoking feeling for the brotherhood of the living and the dead than by hearing them speak again? Remarque's war novel undoes traditional aesthetics, turning scenes of carnage into sublimely grotesque bursts of battlefield contests, and it also takes up the challenge of fictionally restoring and memorializing human casualties and material losses even as it acknowledges the futility of that effort.

Remarque did not download into ideologies of suffering or into Christian notions of sacrifice and redemption, yet his profound empathy for men in the combat zone led him to seek some way of finding meaning in suffering even as he recognized the senselessness of the war effort.Only in the aftermath of World War I, when great expectations soured for everyone but a few stalwarts, did lost illusions quickly set in, with a sense that humans are doomed to engage in a senseless repetition compulsion when it comes to war.

Freud responded: Bart Beaty and Nick Nguyen.

Erich Maria Remarque's Im Westen nichts Neues gained fame on an international scale with a title that captures one of the many paradoxes of war. By remediating the central horse motif from Guernica, Im Westen seems to be answering the same question that Picasso had while composing Guernica: how can one express abhorrence via visual means?

This sudden burst of loquaciousness is the only bulwark he can erect against the silence that seeps into his surroundings, immersing him in a sense of suffering, guilt, and dread. Ich habe gedacht an deine Handgranaten, an dein Bajonet und deine Waffen — jetzt sehe ich deine Frau und dein Gesicht und das Gemeinsame.

But, curiously, it effaces the motivating cause of the writing, giving us the illusion of simply rendering thoughts at the moment in which they are experienced.