David Cesarani

Darkness After ‘Noon’

As a new biography shows, the second half of Arthur Koestler’s life, marked by a peculiar mix of Zionism and Jewish self-hatred, was one of steadily declining reputation.

01/22/2010
Staff Writer

If you were Jewish and lived in the 1940s, to say that Arthur Koestler was on your side was no small thing. Then at the height of his renown, Koestler, born in Budapest in 1905, had become one of Western literature’s most revered figures. His anti-Stalinist novel “Darkness at Noon,” published in 1940 and still his most famous, made him one of the first liberals to come out against Communism. The book would partly inspire George Orwell, an author whose reputation today far eclipses Koestler’s.

The new biography of Arthur Koestler by Michael Scammell, bottom, revives an overlooked thesis.
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