|Author||Erich Maria Remarque|
|Original title||Drei Kameraden|
|Translator||A. W. Wheen|
|Cover artist||Paul Wenck|
|Publisher|| Little, Brown and Company (US)|
|December 1936 |
Published in English
Three Comrades (German: Drei Kameraden) is a 1936 novel by the German author Erich Maria Remarque. It is written in first person by the main character Robert Lohkamp, whose somewhat disillusioned outlook on life is due to his horrifying experiences in the trenches of the First World War's French-German front. He shares these experiences with Otto Köster and Gottfried Lenz, his two comrades with whom he runs an auto-repair shop in what may be late-1920s Berlin. Remarque wrote the novel in exile and it was first published in the Dutch translation; the English translation followed soon, being serialised in Good Housekeeping from January to March 1937, and in the book form later in the year. The first German language edition was published in 1938 by exile publisher Querido in Amsterdam, but the novel was published in Germany only in 1951.
The city, which never is referred to by name (however, it is likely Berlin), is crowded by a growing number of jobless and marked by increasing violence between left and right. The novel starts in the seedy milieu of bars where prostitutes mingle with the hopeless flotsam that the war left behind. While Robert and his friends manage to make a living dealing cars and driving an old taxi, economic survival in the city is getting harder by the day. It is in this setting that Robert meets Patrice Hollmann, a mysterious, beautiful, young woman with an upper-middle-class background. Their love affair intensifies as he introduces her to his life of bars and races and Robert's nihilistic attitude slowly begins to change as he realizes how much he needs Pat.
The story takes an abrupt turn as Pat suffers a near-fatal lung hemorrhage during a summer holiday at the sea. Upon their return, Robert and Pat move in with each other, but she is scheduled to leave for a Swiss mountain sanatorium come winter. It is this temporal limitation of their happiness which makes their remaining time together so precious.
After Pat has left for Switzerland, the political situation in the city becomes heated, and Lenz, one of the comrades, is killed by a militant, not mentioned in the book by the actual name but supposed to be a Nazi. On top of this, Otto and Robert face bankruptcy and have to sell their workshop. In the midst of this misfortune, a telegram arrives informing them of Pat's worsening state of health. The two remaining comrades don't hesitate and drive the thousand kilometers to the sanatorium in the Alps to see her.
Reunited, Robert and an increasingly moribund Pat celebrate their remaining weeks before her inevitable death amid the snow-covered summits of Switzerland. It is in the last part of the book that this love story finds closure and leaves the main character, a nihilist who has found love, forever changed.
The novel has a similar plot as Three Comrades , a 1938 film starring Franchot Tone, Robert Taylor, Robert Young and Margaret Sullavan. Hayao Miyazaki's last film, The Wind Rises , also follows a strikingly similar plot, although set in Japan in the same time period.
Flowers from the Victors (1999), directed by Aleksander Surin, also was based on the novel but set in Russia in the 1990s.
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Erich Maria Remarque was a German novelist. His landmark novel Im Westen nichts Neues (1928), about the German military experience of World War I, was an international best-seller which created a new literary genre, and was adapted into a film in 1930.
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Bruno Alfred Döblin was a German novelist, essayist, and doctor, best known for his novel Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929). A prolific writer whose œuvre spans more than half a century and a wide variety of literary movements and styles, Döblin is one of the most important figures of German literary modernism. His complete works comprise over a dozen novels ranging in genre from historical novels to science fiction to novels about the modern metropolis; several dramas, radio plays, and screenplays; a true crime story; a travel account; two book-length philosophical treatises; scores of essays on politics, religion, art, and society; and numerous letters—his complete works, republished by Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag and Fischer Verlag, span more than thirty volumes. His first published novel, Die drei Sprünge des Wang-lung, appeared in 1915 and his final novel, Hamlet oder Die lange Nacht nimmt ein Ende was published in 1956, one year before his death.
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Princess Natalia Pavlovna Paley was a Russian aristocrat who was a non-dynastic member of the Romanov family. A daughter of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia, she was a first cousin of the last Russian emperor, Nicholas II. After the Russian Revolution, she emigrated first to France and later to the United States. She became a fashion model, socialite, vendeuse, and briefly pursued a career as a film actress.
Simplicissimus was a satirical German weekly magazine, headquartered in Munich, and founded by Albert Langen in April 1896. It continued publishing until 1967, interrupted by a hiatus from 1944–1954, and became a biweekly in 1964. It took its name from the protagonist of Grimmelshausen's 1668 novel Der Abenteuerliche Simplicissimus Teutsch.
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German Exilliteratur is the name for works of German literature written in the German diaspora by refugee authors who fled from Nazi Germany, Nazi Austria, and the occupied territories between 1933 and 1945. These dissident writers, poets and artists, many of whom were of Jewish ancestry and/or held anti-Nazi beliefs, fled into exile in 1933 after the Nazi Party came to power in Germany and after Nazi Germany annexed Austria by the Anschluss in 1938, abolished the freedom of press, and started to prosecute authors and ban works.
Events in the year 1931 in Germany.
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