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Darkness at Noon

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Cwmfelinfach (Cŏomvĕlĭnvahχ) Monmouthshire to Walter de la Mare Biography

a novel by Arthur Koestler, published in 1940, translated from German, which George Orwell regarded as a valuable ‘interpretation of the Moscow “confessions” by someone with an inner knowledge of totalitarian methods’. The novel concerns Stalin's regime and his purge of the Soviet Communist Party during the late 1930s. Koestler, however, wrote it as a parable set in an anonymous state ruled by ‘No. 1’, believing that its central theme of the conflict between political expediency and individual morality was applicable to any revolutionary dictatorship, including Franco's Spain and Hitler's Germany. The novel begins with the arrest and imprisonment of the main character, Rubashov, who appears initially to be an innocent man accused of fabricated crimes. However, he undergoes successive interrogations by his former ‘Party’ subordinates Ivanov and Gletkin, which become dialogues in which Rubashov discovers that he is guilty of the sins of his persecutors. His confession and eventual execution are the logical consequences of his having believed in the revolution and its power to determine history: an objective process in which he, as an individual, is but ‘a multitude of one million divided by one million’.

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