All Quiet on the Western Front
Considered by many the greatest war novel of all time, All Quiet on the Western Front is Erich Maria Remarque’s masterpiece of the German experience during World War I.
I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. . . .
This is the testament of Paul Bäumer, who enlists with his classmates in the German army during World War I. They become soldiers with youthful enthusiasm. But the world of duty, culture, and progress they had been taught breaks in pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches.
Through years of vivid horror, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the principle of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against one another . . . if only he can come out of the war alive.
The PEP Reading Group will discuss Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front as part of its Spring 2019 series. This semester’s series will explore literature of World War One in order to recognize and remember the recent one-hundred-year anniversary of the end of that conflict.
Led by WashU faculty, the Prison Education Project Reading Group (est. 2014) convenes each semester in the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center to consider a series of texts. Designed to sharpen participants’ reading and critical thinking skills, increase expose to significant and interesting texts, and to promote an intellectual environment within MECC, the Reading Group also builds up the skills needed for participants to become successful applicants to the Prison Education Project.
Image: Käthe Kollwitz, The Volunteers, Plate 2, War, 1921/22, woodcut, Kn 173 © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln
Book Description: Penguin Books