Arthur Koestler, CBE (1905-1983) 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.
The Gladiators (1939)
Darkness at Noon (1940)
Arrival and Departure (1943)
Thieves in the Night (1946)
The Age of Longing (1951)
The Call Girls: A Tragicomedy with a Prologue and Epilogue (1972)
Twilight Bar (1945)
Spanish Testament (1937)
Scum of the Earth (1941)
Dialogue with Death (1942)
Arrow in The Blue: The First Volume of an Autobiography, 1905–31 (1952)
The Invisible Writing: The Second Volume of an Autobiography, 1932–40 (1954)
Stranger on the Square (1984)
Scum of the Earth (1941)
The Yogi and the Commissar and other essays (1945)
The Challenge of our Time (1949)
Promise and Fulfilment: Palestine 1917–1949 (1949)
Insight and Outlook (1949)
The Trail of the Dinosaur and other essays (1955)
Reflections on Hanging (1956)
The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man’s Changing Vision of the Universe (1959)
The Watershed: A Biography of Johannes Kepler (1959)
The Lotus and the Robot (1960)
Control of the Mind (1961)
Hanged by the Neck (1961)
Suicide of a Nation (1963)
The Act of Creation (1964)
The Ghost in the Machine (1967)
Drinkers of Infinity: Essays 1955–1967 (1968)
The Age of Longing (1970)
The Case of the Midwife Toad (1971)
The Roots of Coincidence (1973)
The Lion and the Ostrich (1973)
The Heel of Achilles: Essays 1968–1973 (1974)
THE INVISIBLE WRITING
Taken together, Arthur Koestler’s volumes of autobiography constitute an unrivalled study of twentieth-century man and his dilemma. Arrow in the Blue ended with his joining the Communist Party and The Invisible Writing covers some of the most important experiences in his life. We see him in Germany, Russia, England, France and Spain, working sometimes openly and sometimes underground for the cause in which he believed. This was the time of the ‘seven years’ night’ over Europe – of Hitler’s spectacular successes against the Western Democracies. They were also the years of the great Russian purges, which led to Koestler’s eventual break with Communism in 1938, after Hitler and Stalin between them had claimed the lives of most of his friends and relatives.
This book tells of Koestler’s travels through Russia and remote parts of Soviet Central Asia and of his life as an exile. It puts in perspective his experiences in Franco’s prisons under sentence of death and in concentration camps in Occupied France (told at greater length in Dialogue with Death and Scum of the Earth), and ends with his escape from Occupied France in 1940 to England, where he found stability and a new home. An epilogue brings the story up to 1953, when it was written. Koestler calls the book ‘a typical case history of a member of the educated middle classes of Central Europe in our time’. It has two main themes: the historical background against which the author developed, and an unsparing analysis of his intellectual and spiritual development.
Koestler’s first novel, set in the late Roman Republic, tells the story of the revolt of Spartacus and man’s search for Utopia. The first of three novels concerned with the ethics of revolution, it addresses the age-old debate of whether the end justifies the means, an argument continued in his classic novels, Darkness at Noon and Arrival and Departure.
DARKNESS AT NOON – Buy it here
N S Rubashov, an old guard Communist, falls victim to an unnamed totalitarian government; with outstanding psychological insight, Koestler traces his story through arrest, imprisonment and trial in a classic novel which, when first published, famously drew attention to the true nature of Stalinís regime. Despite the loss of the original German text, Daphne Hardyís English translation of the novel, published in London in 1940, has become an international classic and has profoundly affected how history remembers the Moscow Show Trials.
ARROW IN THE BLUE – Buy it here
PUBLICATION DATE: 1st September 2005
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE – Buy it here
The third novel of Koestler’s trilogy on ends and means. The central theme is the conflict between morality and expediency, and in Arrival and Departure Koestler works it out in terms of individual psychology. Peter Slavek starts out as a brave young revolutionary, but suffers a breakdown. On the analyst’s couch he is made to discover, in Koestler’s own words, that his crusading zeal was derived from unconscious guilt.
PUBLICATION DATE: 4th November 1999