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Arthur Koestler: The Homeless Mind

David Cesarani

Verlag: William Heinemann Ltd 1998, 1998
ISBN 10: 0434113050 / ISBN 13: 9780434113057
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Bibliografische Details

Titel: Arthur Koestler: The Homeless Mind

Verlag: William Heinemann Ltd 1998

Erscheinungsdatum: 1998

Einband: Hardcover

Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Dust Jacket Included


New hardback. Some slight shelf wear and creasing to dust jacket but content fine and unread. Buchnummer des Verkäufers A69254

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Inhaltsangabe: Arthur Koestler is one of the intellectual beacons of the 20th century. Along with Russell, Sartre, Malraux, Camus and Orwell, he helped to shape the world of ideas in which we live. As a Central European Jew born at the beginning of the century, Koestler is very much a product of the time, place and circumstances of his birth. As the century progressed, he espoused Communism, Zionism and eventually turned to science to make sense of the chaos of the century. But far from being a dry intellectual, Koestler loved the high life and particularly the women and cars which accompanied it. Using new source material, and enjoying full access to the Koestler estate, David Cesarini re-examines Koestler's writings in the context of his life and loves, paying particular attention to his treatment of friends and lovers. Koestler was a great womanizer and found partners devoted to him, none more so than his last wife, Cynthia, with whom he controversially committed joint suicide in 1983.

Rezension: Should we judge the work by the man, or vice versa? Ezra Pound was a Fascist and an anti-Semite; he was also a good poet. Arthur Koestler was a remarkable man, in his failings as much as his virtues, and David Cesarani's new biography pulls no punches in examining this dichotomy.

Koestler was born in Budapest in 1905 to Jewish parents. In his adult years he courted Zionism, socialism, anti-communism, and from the 1960s onward, science and the paranormal, crossing ideological frontiers as frequently as geographical ones. He wrote his best work before he was 40--Darkness at Noon, Scum of the Earth and Arrival and Departure --and its bravery in expressing a disillusionment with Soviet communism was considerable; George Orwell certainly owed him a debt when he wrote Nineteen Eighty-four. His later work increasingly invited, and received, ridicule. And that is where Koestler has stood for years now, as a majorly minor writer. Cesarani's intention is to reclaim Koestler in the light of his Jewishness, which he believes has been neglected, not least by the writer himself.

However, the strongest personality to emerge from this book is not the anti-communist, or the Jew, but the misogynist bully, who was almost certainly a rapist and possibly a serial one. Muscular of mind and body, Koestler drank, drove, crashed and cavorted as though his soul depended on it. Yet when it suited him he was stimulating and exciting company, as numerous friends attest. So where is the man?

Koestler was an intellectual, a mainly continental affliction, whose skill lay as an assimilator, rather than an originator, of ideas. Malcolm Muggeridge described him as "all antennae and no head". In allowing the contradictions of the man to issue forth in such detail Cesarani runs the risk of obscuring the main tenet of his thesis, but these questions are as relevant as they are awkward; consider the moral arbiters of Bill Clinton today. Whichever way, this is a provocative and searching book, which will not leave you unmoved.--David Vincent

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