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More Writers of the Spanish Civil War

Experience Put to Use

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Edited By Celia M. Wallhead

Further to the first book, Writers of the Spanish Civil War: The Testimony of Their Auto/Biographies (2011), which featured the writings on the war (1936–39) of six key British and American authors: Gerald Brenan, Robert Graves, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Stephen Spender and Laurie Lee, this new work studies the actions in the war of those physically involved and writings focused on the war, either at the time or later, by eight more foreign authors: Virginia Woolf, John Dos Passos, Franz Borkenau, V. S. Pritchett, André Malraux, Arthur Koestler, Martha Gellhorn and Peter Kemp. In addition to comparing their autobiographies with what their biographers said, in order to show up any discrepancies, as had been done in the first book, here, the texts are scrutinized to detect use of stereotypes or adaptation of the material to other purposes in the writing. New perspectives are introduced now in that two of the authors are women, one writing from a distance but deeply affected by the war (Virginia Woolf) and one active in journalism on the spot (Martha Gellhorn), and our final author, Peter Kemp, went to Spain to fight on the side of the Nationalists under Franco as opposed to the Republicans.

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Chapter 6. Arthur Koestler (1905–1983) A Homeless Mind (Rosemary Masters)

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ROSEMARY MASTERS

Chapter 6. Arthur Koestler (1905–1983)A Homeless Mind

Brief Biography

Introduction

From the publication of his novel Darkness at Noon in 1941, Arthur Koestler was for more than 40 years a significant figure in both political activism –notably in the fight against Communism– and the popularisation of science. In addition to five further novels, he penned four ← 235 | 236 → scientific treatises and numerous essays and articles, was a noted foreign correspondent and political journalist, was nominated three times for the Nobel Prize and was acknowledged as one of the greatest writers to adopt English as a second, or in Koestler’s case, a third, foreign language. The Gladiators, the first of a trilogy on the theme of revolutionary ethics, was written in Hungarian, the second, Darkness at Noon, in German and the third, Arrival and Departure, in English. In an interview with Cyril Connolly for the Sunday Times, Koestler said: ‘I think of myself as a European of Hungarian background, Austro-French formation, and a naturalized British subject […] but a European first of all’ (Scammell, 505). That he was a polymath is undeniable, but it was the addition of life experience to his intellectual powers which made him such a significant commentator on the 20th century.

As Stephen Spender noted: ‘Ever since his birth he has lived as it were in the maelstrom of contemporary history’.1 During his lifetime, Koestler experienced revolution in Hungary, the...

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