Darkness at Noon
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Originally published in 1941, Arthur Koestler's modern masterpiece, Darkness At Noon, is a powerful and haunting portrait of a Communist revolutionary caught in the vicious fray of the Moscow show trials of the late 1930s.
During Stalin's purges, Nicholas Rubashov, an aging revolutionary, is imprisoned and psychologically tortured by the party he has devoted his life to. Under mounting pressure to confess to crimes he did not commit, Rubashov relives a career that embodies the ironies and betrayals of a revolutionary dictatorship that believes it is an instrument of liberation.
A seminal work of twentieth-century literature, Darkness At Noon is a penetrating exploration of the moral danger inherent in a system that is willing to enforce its beliefs by any means necessary.
shrugged his shoulders: WE HAVE REPLACED DECENCY BY REASON, he tapped back. No. 402 did not answer any more. Before supper Rubashov read through again what he had written. He made one or two corrections, and made a copy of the whole text in the form of a letter, addressed to the Public Prosecutor of the Republic. He underlined the last paragraphs which treated of the alternative courses of action open to the opposition, and ended the document with this concluding sentence: “The undersigned,
started to read the accusation. His monotonous voice was more irritating than ever; Rubashov listened with averted head and shut eyes. He was decided to regard his “confession” as a formality, as an absurd yet necessary comedy, the tortuous sense of which could only be understood by the initiated; but the text which Gletkin was reading surpassed his worst expectations in absurdity. Did Gletkin really believe that he, Rubashov, had planned these childish plots? That for years he had thought of
in the service of the Party; but Citizen Ivanov was a cynic.” “Was …?” asked Rubashov, taking off his pince-nez. “Citizen Ivanov,” said Gletkin, looking at him with expressionless eyes, “was shot last night, in execution of an administrative decision.” After this conversation, Gletkin let Rubashov sleep for two full hours. On the way back to his cell, Rubashov wondered why the news of Ivanov’s death had not made a deeper impression on him. It had merely caused the cheering effect of his little
sail without ballast. And perhaps reason alone was a defective compass, which led one on such a winding, twisted course that the goal finally disappeared in the mist. Perhaps now would come the time of great darkness. Perhaps later, much later, the new movement would arise—with new flags, a new spirit knowing of both: of economic fatality and the “oceanic sense”. Perhaps the members of the new party will wear monks’ cowls, and preach that only purity of means can justify the ends. Perhaps they
The stairs were narrow and badly lit. Rubashov had to be careful not to stumble, as he could not hold on to the stair rail. The drumming had ceased. He heard the man in uniform descending three steps behind him. The stairs turned in a spiral. Rubashov bent forward to see better; his pince-nez detached itself from his face and fell to the ground two steps below him; splintering, it rebounded lower down and remained lying on the bottom step. Rubashov stopped a second, hesitatingly; then he felt