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The Arthur Koestler: The Homeless Mind - Arthur Koestler and the Quest for Belonging Paperback – 4 Nov 1999

3.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (4 Nov. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099289679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099289678
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,374,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Amazon Review

Should we judge the work by the man, or vice versa? Ezra Pound was a Fascist and an anti-Semite; he was also a good poet. Arthur Koestler was a remarkable man, in his failings as much as his virtues, and David Cesarani's new biography pulls no punches in examining this dichotomy.

Koestler was born in Budapest in 1905 to Jewish parents. In his adult years he courted Zionism, socialism, anti-communism, and from the 1960s onward, science and the paranormal, crossing ideological frontiers as frequently as geographical ones. He wrote his best work before he was 40--Darkness at Noon, Scum of the Earth and Arrival and Departure --and its bravery in expressing a disillusionment with Soviet communism was considerable; George Orwell certainly owed him a debt when he wrote Nineteen Eighty-four. His later work increasingly invited, and received, ridicule. And that is where Koestler has stood for years now, as a majorly minor writer. Cesarani's intention is to reclaim Koestler in the light of his Jewishness, which he believes has been neglected, not least by the writer himself.

However, the strongest personality to emerge from this book is not the anti-communist, or the Jew, but the misogynist bully, who was almost certainly a rapist and possibly a serial one. Muscular of mind and body, Koestler drank, drove, crashed and cavorted as though his soul depended on it. Yet when it suited him he was stimulating and exciting company, as numerous friends attest. So where is the man?

Koestler was an intellectual, a mainly continental affliction, whose skill lay as an assimilator, rather than an originator, of ideas. Malcolm Muggeridge described him as "all antennae and no head". In allowing the contradictions of the man to issue forth in such detail Cesarani runs the risk of obscuring the main tenet of his thesis, but these questions are as relevant as they are awkward; consider the moral arbiters of Bill Clinton today. Whichever way, this is a provocative and searching book, which will not leave you unmoved.--David Vincent --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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on 5 March 2016
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on 10 November 1999
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on 10 November 1999
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