In print continually since 1940, Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon has been translated into over 30 languages and is both a stirring novel and a classic anti-fascist text. Set in the 1930s at the height of the purge and show trials of a Stalinist Moscow, it’s a haunting portrait of an aging revolutionary, Nicholas Rubashov, who is imprisoned, tortured, and forced through a series of hearings by the Party to which he has dedicated his life.
As Koestler fled France at the beginning of World War II, his original German manuscript of Darkness at Noon was lost and the world was left with a hastily made English translation. In 2015, a German graduate student stumbled across an entry in the archives of the Zurich Central Library that is a scholar's dream: a copy of Koestler’s original, complete German manuscript for what would become Darkness at Noon, thought to have been irrevocably lost in the turmoil of the war. Scribner is thrilled to publish Darkness at Noon as Arthur Koestler intended, edited by Michael Scammell, and translated by Philip Boehm.
Arthur Koestler (1905-1983) was a Hungarian-British author and journalist who immersed himself in the major ideological and social conflicts of his time. In 1931 Koestler joined the Communist Party of Germany until, disillusioned by Stalinism, he resigned in 1938. In 1940 he published Darkness at Noon, an anti-totalitarian work that gained him international fame.
Philip Boehm is an American playwright, theater director, and literary translator. He is a PEN America 2018 Los Angeles Translation Award winner and the founder of the Upstream Theater in St. Louis. Boehm has translated over thirty novels and plays by German and Polish writers, including Herta Müller, Franz Kafka, and Hanna Krall. He has received fellowships from the NEA and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, as well as several awards including the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize.
Michael Scammell is the author of Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth Century Skeptic and Solzhenitsyn, A Biography. He has translated books by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Nabokov into English and writes regularly about Russian and East European literature. He is a Professor in the Writing Division of the School of the Arts at Columbia University.