Maya Zlobina, “Koestler’s Version: The book and the life”

 

 

 

Maya Zlobina, ‘Koestler’s Version’ (re Darkness at Noon) – Novy Mir IN RUSSIAN

 

Maya Zlobina, ‘Koestler’s Version’

 

 

 

Posted here in both Russian and my own English translation (as separate downloadable Word documents, above), is the following essay/book review about Arthur Koestler’s novel Darkness at Noon, which appeared in the Russian journal Novy mir in 1989. The article came to my attention because of the mention (critical) therein of Theodore Dreiser. The citation is as follows:

 

Maya Zlobina. “Versiya Kestlera: kniga i zhizn” (Koestler’s Version: The book and the life), Novy mir, No 2 (1989)

 

 

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I read Darkness at Noon in my high school history class in my senior year. I by no means fully appreciated the novel’s implications, because of my ignorance at that time of Russian history and of the worldwide political environment in the 1930’s, when Soviet-style Communism had great support among the intelligentsia.

I now see, thanks largely to this excellent, penetrating essay by Maya Zlobina, a literary critic and translator. The occasion of her Novy mir essay was the publication in 1988 of Darkness at Noon in Russian translation, during the Gorbachev era. The book had been banned in the Soviet Union.

Published in 1940, Darkness at Noon is the story of Rubashov, an Old Bolshevik who is arrested, imprisoned, and tried for treason. The novel is set in 1939 during the Stalinist Great Purge and Moscow show trials.

I see similarities between Darkness at Noon and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and feel that it ranks very high as a dystopian, politically oriented novel.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   August 2020

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