Featuring a selection of brand new essays by a group of accomplished scholars, Arthur Koestler's Fiction and the Genre of the Novel covers all of Koestler's novels published in his lifetime, the first book to attempt this in English since Mark Levene's Arthur Koestler, published thirty-seven years ago. The team of contributors, with research backgrounds in history, political science, religious studies, law, linguistics and journalism besides literature, offers a truly multidisciplinary take on how Koestler's novels utilize, and at times transcend, the genre of the novel, and argues for their enduring relevance and appeal in the twenty-first century, inviting the reader to revisit and reassess them. With the topics of Koestler's novels including terrorism, massive migration, espionage, rape trauma, war trauma, the crisis of faith, propaganda, fake news and the role and responsibility of intellectuals in major international crises, as the volume aims to show, these texts are just as topical today, as they were at the time of their publication.
Zénó Vernyik is assistant professor and head of the English department at the Technical University of Liberec.
From Reviving the Dinosaur to Reconnecting with the Visionary: An Introduction to the Volume and an Overview of the State of Koestler Studies
Part 1: Between Genres and Subgenres
Chapter 1: Bucco the Peasant: A Play Embedded in The Gladiators, Its Narrative Function and Relevance for Understanding Koestler’s Fiction
Henry Innes MacAdam
Chapter 2: Can There Be Multiple Keys? The Age of Longing and the Genre of the Roman‑à‑clef
Part 2: The Political Novel
Chapter 3: Images of Revolution: Orwell’s Animal Farm and Koestler’s The Gladiators
Chapter 4: Bernard’s Vision of the Totalitarian State in Arrival and Departure: A Discourse Analytical View of Political Metaphors
Part 3: Investigating the Self and Its Dilemmas through the Prism of the Novel
Chapter 5: Beyond Communism: Reflections on Rubashov’s Character from the Perspectives of Identity, Ethics and Relevance
Chapter 6: Rubashov’s Heritage: The Tragedy of Futility – Portraying the Individual Where No Individuality Is Allowed
Krisztián Kacsinecz and Szilvia Deisler
Part 4: The Zionist Novel: Nation, Identity and Race
Chapter 7: Thieves in the Night: Land and Identity
Chapter 8: Arthur Koestler and the Jewish Race According to Thieves in the Night
Part 5: The Novel as Summary
Chapter 9: The Call-Girls: A Valedictory Novel
Should there be any doubts as to the relevance of Arthur Koestler’s fiction for the 21st century, the essays in this eminently accessible volume dispel them with a vengeance. Covering all the novels to have appeared in English, with an editor who commands an unrivalled knowledge of the secondary literature in different languages, and with contributors from an impressive variety of backgrounds, it displays a degree of coherence rare in a compilation. Indispensable reading for all with an interest in an indispensable writer.
This collection of essays promises to spark a revival of interest in a writer known chiefly for Darkness at Noon, but whose other narratives likewise merit contemporary readership. Never more so than in an era enamored of political idealism and averse to the lessons of the past. Rubashov and Beyond bridges twentieth- and twenty-first century concern in its analyses of Koestler’s eventual aversion to Marxism, and then to Nazism. Rounding out the volume are commentaries on Koestler’s response to twentieth-century Zionism, with each of the volume’s contributions providing valuable bibliographical information and accounting, with admirable detail, for historical context.