The period immediately following the end of the First World War witnessed an outpouring of artistic and literary creativity, as those that had lived through the war years sought to communicate their experiences and opinions. In Germany this manifested itself broadly into two camps, one condemning the war outright; the other condemning the defeat. Of the former, Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front remains the archetypal example of an anti-war novel, and one that has become synonymous with the Great War. Yet the tremendous and enduring popularity of Remarque’s work has to some extent eclipsed a plethora of other German anti-war writers, such as Hans Chlumberg, Ernst Johannsen and Adrienne Thomas. In order to provide a more rounded view of German anti-war literature, this volume offers a selection of essays published by Brian Murdoch over the past twenty years. Beginning with a newly written introduction, providing the context for the volume and surveying recent developments in the subject, the essays that follow range broadly over the German anti-war literary tradition, telling us much about the shifting and contested nature of the war. The volume also touches upon subjects such as responsibility, victimhood, the problem of historical hiatus in the production and reception of novels, drama, poetry, film and other literature written during the war, in the Weimar Republic, and in the Third Reich. The collection also underlines the potential dangers of using novels as historical sources even when they look like diaries. One essay was previously unpublished, two have been augmented, and three are translated into English for the first time. Taken together they offer a fascinating insight into the cultural memory and literary legacy of the First World War and German anti-war texts.
Table of Contents
Preface; Introduction; From the hymn of hate to the way of sacrifice: German writing in the First World War. On Erich Maria Remarque: All quiet on the Trojan front: Remarque, Homer and war as the targets of literary parody; Translating the western front: A. W. Wheen and E. M. Remarque [with an addendum]; Narrative strategies in Remarque’s Im Westen nichts Neues; ‘We Germans...’? Remarque’s English novel All Quiet on the Western Front; Paul Bäumer’s diary: Im Westen nichts Neues, the war diary and the fictionality of the war novel; Going forwards on the road back: the end of the war and its aftermath in Remarque’s second war novel; Innocent killing: Erich Maria Remarque and the Weimar anti-war novels. On Ernst Johanssen: Habent sua fata libelli: Ernst Johannsen’s Vier von der Infanterie and Remarque’s Im Westen nichts Neues; Bestial humans and humane beasts: Ernst Johannsen’s Vier von der Infanterie and Fronterinnerungen eines Pferdes, 1929 [with an addendum]. On Adrienne Thomas: ‘Hinter die Kulissen des Krieges sehen’: Adrienne Thomas, Evadne Price - and E. M. Remarque. On Edlef Köppen: Documentation and narrative: Edlef Köppen’s Heeresbericht and the anti-war novel of the Weimar Republic. On Leonhard Frank: War, identity, truth and love: Leonhard Frank’s Karl und Anna. On Arnold Zweig: Arnold Zweig. On Hans Chlumberg: Memory and prophecy among the war-graves: Hans Chlumberg’s drama, Miracle at Verdun. Bibliographical notes; Index.
Brian Murdoch is Professor Emeritus of German at Stirling University in Scotland, and has held visiting fellowships or lectureships at Oxford and at Cambridge. He has published extensively on medieval and renaissance literature, especially biblical writings. In the modern field he has focussed on the literature of the world wars (on Erich Maria Remarque in particular), and has translated novels by Remarque, by Walter Flex and by modern German writers, as well as medieval works in German and Latin.