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January 10, 2010
Michael Scammell
Author, "Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic"
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Info: Our guest is Michael Scammell, author of the new book "Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic." Arthur Koestler is best known for his anti-communist novel, "Darkness at Noon," which was first published in 1940. In total, he wrote 34 books over his lifetime. Of those, including "Darkness at Noon," five were novels. The rest were non-fiction. In this biography, Michael Scammell tells the complete story of Koestler's life including his youth in Budapest, his three marriages and numerous affairs, and his work in various political causes including Zionism, Communism, and anti-Communism. Arthur Koestler joined the Communist Party of Germany in 1931 and resigned from it in 1938, just two years prior to the publication of "Darkness at Noon." He committed suicide in 1983. Biographer Michael Scammell teaches creative writing and translation at Columbia University. His previous biography of Alexander Solzhenitsyn won the Los Angeles Times prize for best biography. He has translated many Russian authors' works into English including Tolstoy, Nabokov, and Dostoyevsky.

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