Arthur Koestler’s Darkness At Noon

 

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Arthur Koestler was a stark Marxist-Leninist until he became disillusioned with the Soviet Union, when Stalin conducted his show trials that killed thousands in the late 30s.

Darkness At Noon, in essence, is the story of an old-guard revolutionary that is found guilty of some ludicrous political crime that he did not commit, and then he gets jailed.

Interestingly, the book does not mention the Soviet Union nor the Communist doctrine but puts us in a rather odd Orwellian world, where tension is at its highest.

This little novel is not only a short story but is also a political manifesto of the dangers of extremism, and worse yet the dangers of totalitarianism and hypocrisy.

It is not an attack towards the left, Marxism, but rather is an attack of dictatorships. I mean I don’t have to state a well known fact that Marxism and what happened in Russia were to entirely different things. Lenin deviated from Marx, but Stalin turned 180 degrees.

Whatever the case, Arthur Koestler  one of my favorite writers pretenses us with a case of hypocrisy of how power corrupts, and how idealism is in entirety futile and really a falsehood.

I really do not want to tell much about the story itself , as I really suggest you guys should read it.

Arthur Koestler was both a novelist, historian and political scientist.

In one of the chapters of the book he manages to completely engage in political analysis that I have personalty never seen before. This man is a genius and he debunks myths of political dogma and radicalism.

Koestler himself was a stark Hungarian communist until he learned of the horrible Stalinist purges that killed thousands of men and women(many who were part of the 1917 Revolution). Why did he kill them? Stalin wanted to maintain his power without any opposition. Through the show trials he was able to make his domination and oppression total.

Before you read this novel I do warn you that it is particularly dejected, but an interesting read nonetheless.

Published in The Art of Polemics, Issue 1, on June 18th, 2014.

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One thought on “Arthur Koestler’s Darkness At Noon

  1. Koestler writes an interesting political novel. But it does not necessarily shed light on the reality of the Soviet Union under Stalin. The problems of internal subversion and external threats faced by Stalin coupled with the problems of socialist construction and Stalin’s own errors and excesses are more complicated than what “Darkness At Noon” can ever show. On the contrary, Koestler simply rehashes in novelistic form some of the most common anti-communist, counterrevolutioanry, imperialist and reactionary propaganda that he writes in a more straightforward manner in the McCarthyist classic, “The God That Failed.”

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