It is almost 93 years since Erich Maria Remarque’s memoir of the First World War appeared in the pages of the newspaper Vossische Zeitung. It emerged in book form a few months later – January 1929 – and was made into a movie the following year.
An English translation was published by Putnam in March 1929, and reprinted fourteen times between then and June the same year. I have a copy of the fourteenth reprint. Now, Remarque’s title, Im Westen nichts Neues, directly meant ‘nothing new in the West’. The English version, however, became All Quiet on the Western Front. I don’t know how much of that was due to the translator, A. W. Wheen. However, the phrase gained a life of its own in English – essentially, turning into a colloquialism meaning that although things are usually fairly frantic, nothing much is going on just now.
I mention this because it’s interesting of itself, but also because that colloquial meaning pretty much describes this blog just now. Not much happening. I’ve not been able to post much – or respond properly to readers. Other priorities have intruded – including the fact that I write full time for a living, and that’s hugely engulfing. That’ll pass, but for now I haven’t got a lot of time for anything but a very large project which I will tell you about in a while.
On the other hand, I have some exciting news coming up. Which you’ll find out about very soon – on this very blog. As soon as a week away, in fact. Watch this space. Meanwhile, any guesses as to what’s coming up? (Spoiler: yes, it’s a book).
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2021