Darkness at Noon

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Darkness at Noon

Darkness at Noon – by Arthur Koestler, Daphne Hardy (Translator)

Darkness at Noon (from the German: Sonnenfinsternis) is a novel by the Hungarian-born British novelist Arthur Koestler, first published in 1940. His best-known work tells the tale of Rubashov, a Bolshevik 1917 revolutionary who is cast out, imprisoned and tried for treason by the Soviet government he’d helped create.

Darkness at Noon stands as an unequaled fictional portrayal of the nightmare politics of our time. Its hero is an aging revolutionary, imprisoned and psychologically tortured by the Party to which he has dedicated his life. As the pressure to confess preposterous crimes increases, he relives a career that embodies the terrible ironies and human betrayals of a totalitarian movement masking itself as an instrument of deliverance. Almost unbearably vivid in its depiction of one man’s solitary agony, it asks questions about ends and means that have relevance not only for the past but for the perilous present. It is —- as the Times Literary Supplement has declared —- “A remarkable book, a grimly fascinating interpretation of the logic of the Russian Revolution, indeed of all revolutionary dictatorships, and at the same time a tense and subtly intellectualized drama.”

Review

Arthur Koestler CBE [*Kösztler Artúr] was a prolific writer of essays, novels and autobiographies.

He was born into a Hungarian Jewish family in Budapest but, apart from his early school years, was educated in Austria. His early career was in journalism. In 1931 he joined the Communist Party of Germany but, disillusioned, he resigned from it in 1938 and in 1940 published a devastating anti-Communist novel, Darkness at Noon, which propelled him to instant international fame.

Over the next forty-three years he espoused many causes, wrote novels and biographies, and numerous essays. In 1968 he was awarded the prestigious and valuable Sonning Prize “For outstanding contribution to European culture”, and in 1972 he was made a “Commander of the British Empire” (CBE).

In 1976 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and three years later with leukaemia in its terminal stages. He committed suicide in 1983 in London.

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About the Author

I made the mistake of reading the introduction to the new translation by Mr. Scammell. In his FIRST paragraph, he reveals what happens to the central character in the end! Why did he do that? It spoiled things for me. Perhaps I should ignore it and read on, but… Maybe someone could enlighten me?

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