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  • 592
  • Date :
  • 9/6/2004
(3 Septembre 1905-1983)

English writer who born in Budapest of Hungarian parents. Koestler spent his early years inVienna and Palestine. An influential Communist journalist inBerlin in the early 1930s, Koestler was subsequently captured by Franco’s forces during the Spanish Civil War;Spanish Testament (1937) relates his experiences. Released in 1937, he edited an anti-Nazi and anti-Soviet French weekly and served in the French Foreign Legion (1939–40). After the German invasion he was interned in a concentration camp, but escaped fromFrance in 1940 and lived thereafter in England. Koestler broke with Communism as a result of the Soviet purge trials of the late 1930s.Darkness atNoon (1941), his most important novel, vividly describes the execution of an old Bolshevik for “deviationist” belief in the individual. Other significant accounts of the evil of Stalinism includeThe Yogi and the Commissar (1945), and a famous essay inThe God That Failed (ed. by R. H. Crossman, 1951). In his later years Koestler ranged over a wide variety of subjects. His later novels includeThieves in the Night (1946), a powerful description of the conflict between Arabs and Jews in Palestine, The Age of Longing (1951), andThe Call Girls: A Tragicomedy (1973). He wrote extensively on science in such works asThe Lotus and the Robot (1960),The Act of Creation (1964),The Ghost in the Machine (1968),The Case of the Midwife Toad (1971), andThe Roots of Coincidence (1972). Greatly concerned in later life with euthanasia and the right to die, Koestler and his wife committed a joint suicide in 1983. Koestler combined a brilliant journalistic style with an understanding of the great movements of his times and a participant’s sense of commitment.

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