Erich Maria Remarque quotes

Erich Maria Remarque

German author who created many works, with his best-known novel being All Quiet on the Western Front.
Some day perhaps our time will be known as the age of irony. Not the witty irony of the eighteenth century, but the stupid or malignant irony of a crude age of technological progress and cultural regression. He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: "All quiet on the Western Front".
He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as though sleeping. Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long; his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come.
Comrade, I say to the dead man, but I say it calmly, today you tomorrow me, but if I come out of it, comrade, I will fight against this, that has struck us both down; from you taken life - and from me? Life also. I promise you, comrade. It shall never happen again. A crude age. Peace is stabilized with cannon and bombers, humanity with concentration camps and pogroms. We're living in a time when all standards are turned upside-down, Kern. Today the aggressor is the shepherd of peace, and the beaten and hunted are the troublemakers of the world. What's more, there are whole races who believe it! Keep things at arm's length... If you let anything come too near you want to hold on to it. And there is nothing a man can hold on to. But probably that's the way of the world - when we have finally learned something we're too old to apply it - and so it goes, wave after wave, generation after generation. No one learns anything at all from anyone else. We are not youth any longer. We don't want to take the world by storm. We are fleeing. We fly from ourselves. From our life. We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces. Love should not be polluted with friendship.
This dead man is bound up with my life, therefore I must do everything, promise everything in order to save myself; I swear blindly that I mean to live only for his sake and his family, with wet lips I try to placate him - and deep down in me lies the hope that I may buy myself off in this way and perhaps even get out of this; it is a little stratagem: if only I am allowed to escape, then I will see to it. So I open the book and read slowly - "Gerard Duval, compositor".
With the dead man's pencil write the address on an envelope, then swiftly thrust everything back into his tunic.
I have killed the printer, Gerard Duval. I must be a printer, I think confusedly, be a printer, printer...
I always thought everyone was against war until I found out there are those who are all for it, especially those who do not have to go there. That is the remarkable thing about drinking: it brings people together so quickly, but between night and morning it sets an interval again of years. Someone said to me once that a cigarette at the right moment is better than all the ideals in the world. I want that quiet rapture again. I want to feel the same powerful, nameless urge that I used to feel when I turned to my books. The breath of desire that then arose from the coloured backs of the books, shall fill me again, melt the heavy, dead lump of lead that lies somewhere in me and waken again the impatience of the future, the quick joy in the world of thought, it shall bring back again the lost eagerness of my youth. I sit and wait.