Arthur Koestler biography

Arthur Koestler

Novelist, Author

1905 – 1983


Who was Arthur Koestler?

Arthur Koestler, CBE was a Hungarian-British author and journalist. Koestler was born in Budapest and, apart from his early school years, was educated in Austria. In 1931 Koestler joined the Communist Party of Germany until, disillusioned by Stalinism, he resigned in 1938. In 1940 he published his novel Darkness at Noon, an anti-totalitarian work, which gained him international fame. Over the next 43 years from his residence in Great Britain, Koestler espoused many political causes and wrote novels, memoirs, biographies, and numerous essays. In 1968, he was awarded the Sonning Prize "for outstanding contribution to European culture" and, in 1972, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 1976, Koestler was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and, in 1979, with terminal leukaemia. In 1983 he and his wife committed suicide at home in London.

Famous Quotes:

  • Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.
  • Nobody before the Pythagorean had thought that mathematical relations held the secret of the universe. Twenty-five centuries later, Europe is still blessed and cursed with their heritage. To non-European civilizations, the idea that numbers are the key to both wisdom and power, seems never to have occurred.
  • The most persistent sound which reverberates through man's history is the beating of war drums.
  • If conquerors be regarded as the engine-drivers of History, then the conquerors of thought are perhaps the pointsmen who, less conspicuous to the traveler's eye, determine the direction of the journey.
  • The definition of the individual was: a multitude of one million divided by one million.
  • Politics can be relatively fair in the breathing spaces of history; at its critical turning points there is no other rule possible than the old one, that the end justifies the means.
  • The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards.
  • Creative activity could be described as a type of learning process where teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.
  • Scientists are peeping toms at the keyhole of eternity.
  • If the creator had a purpose in equipping us with a neck, he surely meant us to stick it out.


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Sep 5, 1905
Also known as
  • A. Costler
  • Dr. A. Costler
  • Atheism
  • Judaism
  • Jewish people
  • Hungarian people
  • Hungary
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • University of Vienna
  • War correspondent, News Chronicle
    (1936 - 1938)
Mar 1, 1983

on July 23, 2013

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