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Darkness at Noon (Penguin Modern Classics) (original 1940; edition 1973)

by Arthur Koestler

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,128None1,793 (4.03)117
Member:DuneSherban
Title:Darkness at Noon (Penguin Modern Classics)
Authors:Arthur Koestler
Info:Penguin Books in association w/ Jonathan Cape (1973), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:European literature

Work details

Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler (1940)

  1. 70
    1984 by George Orwell (ivan.frade)
    ivan.frade: Both books talk about revolution and the people, individual rights vs. common wellness. "darkness at noon" is pretty similar to 1984, without the especulation/science-fiction ingredient.
  2. 30
    Animal Farm by George Orwell (chrisharpe)
  3. 30
    Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell (br77rino)
    br77rino: Much of Orwell's impetus for writing "1984" came from his experience in the Spanish Civil War, which he writes about in this.
  4. 20
    The Anti-Communist Manifestos: Four Books That Shaped the Cold War by John V. Fleming (prosfilaes)
    prosfilaes: Fleming describes the context of Koestler's book, including how it compared, was affected by and affected other anti-Communist books.
  5. 20
    Life and Fate by Vassili Grossman (chrisharpe)
  6. 31
    The Trial by Franz Kafka (chrisharpe)
  7. 31
    One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn (chrisharpe)
  8. 10
    A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891-1924 by Orlando Figes (GabrielF)
    GabrielF: Written in 1940, Darkness at Noon really takes you into the minds of the revolutionary generation during Stalin's purges. A People's Tragedy is a very readable, thorough and fascinating history of the revolution.
  9. 01
    Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada (chrisharpe)
  10. 02
    The Case of Comrade Tulayev by Victor Serge (thatguyzero)
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» See also 117 mentions

English (47)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
just finished rereading it. a truly great book. this one has grown on me over time. better than 1984. ( )
  clarkland | Mar 26, 2014 |
Interesting look at life in prison behind the Iron Curtain. ( )
  JK135 | Feb 24, 2014 |
I was interested to learn that this novel was first written in German by a "Hungarian-born anti-Nazi and ex-Communist" who became a British citizen and was imprisoned in Spain while covering the Civil War. Arthur Koestler also wrote many other books on European political conflict, including both fiction and non-fiction.

DARKNESS AT NOON details the inner struggles of a Russian Bolshevik arrested for plotting against Stalin. The protagonist is said to be modeled on the historical figure of Bukharin. He comes to question everything he has done in the past. HIs mental contortions and suffering are portrayed in fascinating episodes despite the confinement of a prison setting. Surprisingly, the protagonist clings to such justifications as historical inevitability and the righteousness of Party edicts, which he accepts as the instrument of this inevitability.

At the same time, he seems to sense the validity of a non-ideological, human truth that he has helped to trample under the feet of political struggle in his role as a Party activist. I believe this suggests a gradually emerging impulse toward self-reflection after the years of surrender to a "higher power."

References to women are rare in this book, but it nonetheless managed to strike a deeply sexist note. Even so, I found it an engrossing document of the dark chapters of Soviet history and, perhaps, of political obsession overall. ( )
  AnesaMiller | Feb 23, 2014 |
Really not my thing. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
Read in Nov 2013 as part of my great writers projects. It was high on the top 100 list.
  ntgntg | Dec 17, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arthur Koestlerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hardy, DaphneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walter, Hans-AlbertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
He who establishes a dictatorship and does not kill Brutus, or he who founds a republic and does not kill the sons of Brutus, will only reign a short time. Machiavelli, Discorsi.

Man, man, one cannot live without pity. Dostoyevsky, Crime and punishment.
Dedication
The characters in this book are fictitious.  The historical circumstances which determined their actions are real.  The life of the man N.S. Rubashov is a synthesis of the lives of a number of men who were victims of the so-called Moscow Trials.  Several of them were personally know to the author.  This book is dedicated to their memory. - Paris, October 1938 - April, 1940
First words
The cell door slammed behind Rubashov.
Quotations
How can one change the world if one identifies oneself with everybody?
How else can one change it?
He who understands and forgives- where would he find a motive to act?
Where would he not?
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 re-lives a career that embodies the terrible ironies and human betrayals of a totalitarian movement masking itself as an instrument of deliverance.… (more)

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