Bernard Avishai pens a fascinating post on the life and legacy of Arthur Koestler, known for the anti-Communist novel, "Darkness at Noon." The irony for me is that his defense proves more to me than ever why Koestler has less relevance to Americans who have come of age since the end of World War II, and how Koestler's private life seems to have influenced and limited his philosophical outlook.
This is my comment at Avishai's website (which website I had recently added in the Links to this blog):
After reading the links, and the blog post, I am less impressed with Koestler than ever. Koestler strikes me as a political poser who wanted to be Henry Miller, another jerk with an unwarranted literary reputation.
The best anti-communist, but humane writers remain Victor Serge and just underneath Serge, Ignazio Silone. Both men were far less cruel and had a better sense that the uncertainties in life make us less cruel to each other.
Silone has his own demon of possibly being a Fascist informant in Italy in the 1920s during the time he was a member of the Italian Communist Party, though one wonders how much that was bound up with his brother being in trouble and then in a Fascist jail before the brother was executed. Serge, however, remains steadfast and judicious, and a democratic socialist to the end who best understood the human betrayal at the heart of Bolshevism and Stalinism in particular.
Koester's search for a unifying theory and his mysticism, as well his narcissism does seem to infect his work. In a Cold War and post-Cold War world where the assumptions of the Cold War...remain hardened, Koester and even Orwell are more abused by the likes of a Gingrich-Reagan mindset that is antithetical to true freedom of thought, creativity and human kindness. Better to leave most of these anti-Communist players behind for at least the likes of Serge, Silone or Czeslaw Milosz, whose "The Captive Mind" was consciously written to attack (Communist Party) apparatchniks as well as corporate middle management. (Parenthesis and links added)
(Edited first paragraph of post)