Darkness at Noon
Originally published in 1941, Arthur Koestler's modern masterpiece, Darkness At Noon, is a powerful and haunting portrait of a Communist revolutionary caught in the vicious fray of the Moscow show trials of the late 1930s.
During Stalin's purges, Nicholas Rubashov, an aging revolutionary, is imprisoned and psychologically tortured by the party he has devoted his life to. Under mounting pressure to confess to crimes he did not commit, Rubashov relives a career that embodies the ironies and betrayals of a revolutionary dictatorship that believes it is an instrument of liberation.
A seminal work of twentieth-century literature, Darkness At Noon is a penetrating exploration of the moral danger inherent in a system that is willing to enforce its beliefs by any means necessary.
each other. The young man in uniform said something to the girl in a low voice; she too turned her head. Rubashov again grasped his cigarette case, but this time let it go while still in his pocket. The girl said something and pulled the young man away with her. The pair of them left the gallery slowly, the man rather hesitatingly. One heard the girl giggling again outside and their footsteps receding. Richard turned his head and followed them with his eyes. As he moved, Rubashov gained a better
persisted. Only the bunk creaked slightly when he moved. Rubashov was just thinking of getting up and lighting another cigarette when the ticking in the wall started again. THEY ARE COMING, said the ticking. Rubashov listened. He heard his pulses hammering in his temples and nothing else. He waited. The silence thickened. He took off his pince-nez and tapped: I HEAR NOTHING…. For a whole while No. 402 did not answer. Suddenly he tapped, loudly and sharply: NO. 380. PASS IT ON. Rubashov sat
through to me by my neighbours, which, in fact, happens. A further finesse of the producer’s is to inform Bogrov of my presence here, just before he is dragged off—on the further assumption that this final shock will draw from him some audible manifestation; which also happens. The whole thing is calculated to put me into a state of depression. In this darkest hour, Comrade Ivanov appears as a saviour, with a bottle of brandy under his arm. Follows a touching scene of reconciliation, we fall into
“Don’t you imagine that you understand,” he said. “God knows what was in his mind when he said that. The Party has taught you all to be cunning, and whoever becomes too cunning loses all decency. It’s no good shrugging your shoulders,” he went on angrily. “It’s come to this in the world now that cleverness and decency are at loggerheads, and whoever sides with one must do without the other. It’s not good for a man to work things out too much. That’s why it is written: ‘Let your communication be,
fatality. It was the central ill of humanity, the cancer which was eating into its entrails. It was there that one must operate; the rest of the healing process would follow. All else was dilettantism, romanticism, charlatanism. One cannot heal a person mortally ill by pious exhortations. The only solution was the surgeon’s knife and his cool calculation. But wherever the knife had been applied, a new sore had appeared in place of the old. And again the equation did not work out. For forty years