review Ä The Invisible Writing 109

characters The Invisible Writing

Writing covers some of the most important experiences in his lifeThis book tells of Koestler's travels through Russia and remote parts of Soviet Central Asia and of his life as an exile It puts in perspectiv. Recently while sorting through my bookshelves I came across a battered copy of Arthur Koestler s most famous novel Darkness at Noon which tells the story of a Bolshevik Rubashov who undergoes imprisonment torture and execution as part of Stalin s most notorious purge in the late 1930 s I picked it up and started reading but hours later found I could not put it down which on reminiscing was the feeling that I had when I first read it over thirty years agoThis time however the book did not feel like a historical document or a prophecy about the future of Socialism it felt instead like a news bulletin Written nearly eighty years ago after Koestler s break with the Communist party of which he had been a member from 1931 to 1938 and capturing his disillusionment with the party the broken promise of socialism and his own experiences in Spanish and French prisons where he faced the very real possibility of death it outlined the arguments that had led people like Rubashov to break all laws of humanity and in effect live a lie There are only two conceptions of human ethics and they are at opposite poles One of them is Christian and humane declares the individual to be sacrosanct and asserts that the rules of arithmetic are not to be applied to human units The other starts from the basic principal that a collective aim justifies all means and not only allows but demands that the individual should in every way be subordinated and scarified to the community which may dispose of it as an experimental rabbit or a sacrificial lamb Darkness at NoonHow was such a twisted system possible What Koestler outlines in his novel and in the second volume of his autobiography The Invisible Writing which is primarily a retelling of his communist party years between 1931 to 1938 and then his experiences in the early days of World War Two and his eventual escape to safety in England is how the truth was manipulated and twisted which has frightening similarity with our own times and fake news and the use and abuse of social media We should be in an era where propaganda and misinformation is all but eradicated instead is prevalent than everThe twisting of facts to fit a desired outcome is nothing new as Koestler reminds his readers with a timely uote from Machiavelli in his novel Occasionally words must serve to veil the facts But this must happen in such a way that no one becomes aware of it or if it should be noticed excuses must be at hand to be produced immediately How often do we see this techniue used in the modern day But the precedents are numerousSo Koestler may be a dead white Hungarian Jewish intellectual who has gone out of fashion after being widely read from the forties to the early eighties but on picking up his works again and particularly tracing his journey through the major political upheavals of the twentieth century it is clear he still has much to offer both as a guide and a prophet

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The Invisible Writing

Taken together Arthur Koestler's volumes of autobiography constitute an unrivalled study of twentieth century man and his dilemma Arrow in the Blue ended with his joining the Communist Party and The Invisible. What a life could really be the three word review of this amazing autobiography installment by Koestler This is second part in the three part autobiography and probably the meatiest I say probably as I still haven t read the third but considering that this covers historically the most interesting time in the life of modern Europe I doubt his life could have been eventful in the latter years I ve been an unabashed fan of Koestler since I first read The Sleepwalkers It got better with Darkness at Noon Koestler is an amazing writer not because of style but content That pretty much holds good for his autobiography as well Koestler s life is a like a miniature version of Europe in the pre and post communist wave And he seems to have been everywhere at the right time in the context of history although not in terms of personal safety for sure Palestine Russia France Spain England Koestler would obviously have it no other way After being saved from a possible execution in Spain and being interned in France as enemy alien Koestler still didn t want to take a safe exit out of EuropeAnd I also knew that my roots were in Europe that I belonged to Europe and that if Europe went down survival became pointless and I would rather go down with her than take refuge in a country which no longer meant anything but a refuge This resolution was actually put to the test when France fell and when instead of heading for Palestine or still neutral America I made my escape to England which led to another stretch of solitary confinement in a London prison during the blitz Yet even that prison cell in Pentonville meant Europe my homeIt s a truly remarkable life And yet what binds the book together is not the action but the intellectual journey that begun in Arrow In The Blue the chronicles of his growing disillusionment with the Communist party and politics to his eventual break with the party As is so typical of the book the restless narrator tells the story of his life and the life of restless Europe and of his ideological journey through the politicallyintellectually divided Europe There is so much to take in in Koestler that it s a shame that he is so hard to find in bookshops online or offline NB It s interesting that I started this book on the even of the last new year and finished it on the eve of this

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E his experiences in Franco's prisons under sentence of death and in concentration camps in Occupied France and ends with his escape in The Invisible ePUB #192to England where he found stability and a new hom. This book details Koestler s experiences as a member of the Communist party in Europe before the Second World War including his experiences of the Party itself the Communist struggle against the rise of Nazism Koestler s travels in the early Soviet Union and his eventual westward before from the crushing inexorable advance of the Third Reich which would certainly have murdered him in its death camps It is a lucid and intensely personal document of life between the wars and a ruthless dissection of the rise of totalitarianismMost of all this book is the story of Koestler s involvement with the pre war Communist movement It s the story of how Communism became a doctrine then a cult that trammelled and suppressed free thought He describes how he himself this most original and lucid of thinkers became almost religiously converted to Communism He details how the Communist party developed a culture of stifling its own dissent He explains how he began to censor his own criticisms of Communism developing complicated mental filters that eventually allowed him to justify even the most obvious and horrific failings of the Soviet systemCommunism itself is barely involved The merits and failings of the political system are irrelevant to the story This is the story of how an idea was corrupted by its own believers first exalted then made inviolable whereupon it stagnated and was perverted into a monstrous evil caricature of its original selfI whole heartedly recommend this book to students of early twentieth century history to people who ve read Koestler s other books and appreciate his lucidness and insight to students of the human condition and to those interested in Communism or in cult psychologyMost of all I recommend it to anyone who s got an idea they think can change the world


10 thoughts on “The Invisible Writing

  1. says:

    EVERYTHING OLD HAS SHAPE SHIFTEDArrow in the Blue The Invisible WritingBy Arthur Koestler1954Darkness at Noon may not be reuired reading any in universities because Koestler is a dead white male who left the Communist Party But The Invisible Writing a 400 page volume of his four part autobiography Arrow in the Blue is still worth reading because it explains so much about the origins of the political culture is there any other kind? of the

  2. says:

    What a life could really be the three word review of this amazing autobiography installment by Koestler This is second part in the three part autobiography and probably the meatiest I say probably as I still haven't read the third

  3. says:

    I would devide my life to before and after reading Koestler He changed me to a different person He was a man of a generation who witnessed fi

  4. says:

    Recently while sorting through my bookshelves I came across a battered copy of Arthur Koestler’s most famous novel ‘ Darkness at Noon’ which tells the story of a Bolshevik Rubashov who undergoes imprisonment torture and execution as part of Stalin’s most notorious purge in the late 1930’s I picked it up and started read

  5. says:

    Remarkably honest well written and incredibly frustrating While it is impossible to fully understand the dilemma of liberal thought in the second uarter of the 20th century in Europe you would have to be similarly neurotic to understand Koestler's attraction to Communism with the knowledge he possessed during much of the period of

  6. says:

    20th Century history at its best And he advocated a United States of Europe as early as 1940 After WW2 it should have happe

  7. says:

    The last chapter of Koestler's autobiography covers the years 1932 1940 and encompasses his break with Communism and his flight from Europe and residence in England

  8. says:

    I can't 'recommend' this as such its misogyny cruelty and self regard are incessant but grimly compelling on the Comintern intelligentsia of the thirties

  9. says:

    This book details Koestler's experiences as a member of the Communist party in Europe before the Second World War including his experiences of

  10. says:

    koestler was famous euro man of letters widely and wildly misinterpreted because he was so out of the box embraced by the right for his expose

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