Michael Scammell on the Eternal Totalitarian Truths of Arthur Koestler’s Classic. Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon is an intellectual and political thriller about the life and death of a fictional revolutionary leader, Nikolai Salmanovich Rubashov, told as he languishes in prison accused of treason.
Is Darkness at Noon Based on a true story?
The main character is Nikolai Salmanovich Rubashov, a man in his fifties whose character is based on “a number of men who were the victims of the so-called Moscow trials,” several of whom “were personally known to the author”.
Who does Rubashov represent?
Rubashov represented the old guard of the Bolshevik Party, and Koestler had concluded that after thirty to forty years of suffering every kind of adversity, including various types of torture, they couldn’t be broken by torture alone.
Who is Gletkin?
Gletkin is the epitome of the new guard: around 37 years old, he is too young to remember the Revolution or to have fought in the Civil War, so he has little sense of the dramatic changes that have taken place, or of the irony that those now being tried and executed for treason were some of the nation’s heroes.
Did Arthur Koestler write in English?
Koestler wrote his books in German up to 1940, but then wrote only in English.
Who is Darkness at Noon based on?
Set in the 1930s at the height of the purge and show trials of a Stalinist Moscow, Darkness at Noon is a haunting portrait of an aging revolutionary, Nicholas Rubashov, who is imprisoned, tortured, and forced through a series of hearings by the Party to which he has dedicated his life.
Is Darkness at Noon a dystopia?
“Darkness at Noon is a dystopia of the first order. Grounded in reality, the Soviet-style dictatorship depicted by Koestler is as twisted, illogical and terrifying as any science fiction.”
Who is No 1 in the Darkness at Noon?
The Party leader and a clear stand-in for Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union. While No. 1 never appears in person in the novel, his portrait hangs over almost every room, implying his ubiquitous knowledge and power.
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