Darkness at Noon

Overview

Arthur Koestler’s timeless classic, Darkness at Noon, first published in 1941, is a powerful and haunting portrait of a Soviet revolutionary who is imprisoned and tortured under Stalin’s rule.

Of all of Arthur Koestler’s works, none demonstrates more vividly his narrative power and uncompromising clarity of vision than this seminal work of twentieth century literature. “Darkness at Noon is the sort of novel that transcends ordinary limitations…written with such dramatic power, ...

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Darkness at Noon: A Novel

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Overview

Arthur Koestler’s timeless classic, Darkness at Noon, first published in 1941, is a powerful and haunting portrait of a Soviet revolutionary who is imprisoned and tortured under Stalin’s rule.

Of all of Arthur Koestler’s works, none demonstrates more vividly his narrative power and uncompromising clarity of vision than this seminal work of twentieth century literature. “Darkness at Noon is the sort of novel that transcends ordinary limitations…written with such dramatic power, with such warmth of feeling, and with such persuasive simplicity” (The New York Times, 1941).

Set during Stalin’s Moscow show trials of the 1930s, Darkness at Noon is an unforgettable portrait of an aging revolutionary, Nicholas Rubashov, who is imprisoned and psychologically tortured by the very Party to which he has dedicated his life. As the pressure increases to confess to committing preposterous crimes, he re-lives 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, Darkness at Noon 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.”

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Editorial Reviews

The Wall Street Journal
"Among the first former communists to expose the horror lurking behind the ideology's promise of utopia was the Hungarian-born British journalist Arthur Koestler. His Darkness at Noon (1941) is perhaps the greatest anticommunist novel of all time: at once a warning about the nature of the Soviet regime, issued at a time when few in the West wanted to hear it, and a grand novel of ideas in the tradition of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Thomas Mann."
New Statesman (UK)
"One of the few books written in this epoch which will survive it."
The New York Times Book Review
"It is the sort of novel that transcends ordinary limitations. Written with such dramatic power, with such warmth of feeling, and with such persuasive simplicity that it is as absorbing as melodrama."
New York Herald Tribune
"A rare and beautifully executed novel."
The Times Literary Supplement (London)
"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."
Harold Strauss
It is the sort of novel that transcends ordinary limitations, and that may be read as a primary discourse in political philosophy. It is a far cry from the bleak topical commmentaries that sometimes pass as novels. The magic effect of Darkness at Noon is its magnificant tragic irony.-- Books of the Century; New York Times review, May 1941
Times Literary Supplement
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781476785554
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 1/27/2015
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 295,557

Meet the Author

Born in Budapest in 1905, educated in Vienna, Arthur Koestler immersed himself in the major ideological and social conflicts of his time. A communist during the 1930s, and visitor for a time in the Soviet Union, he became disillusioned with the Party and left it in 1938. Later that year in Spain, he was captured by the Fascist forces under Franco, and sentenced to death. Released through the last-minute intervention of the British government, he went to France where, the following year, he again was arrested for his political views. Released in 1940, he went to England, where he made his home. His novels, reportage, autobiographical works, and political and cultural writings established him as an important commentator on the dilemmas of the 20th century. He died in 1983.

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