Arthur KoestlerApr 5, 2021
Darkness at Noon
Philip Boehm, who has translated over thirty books from German and Polish into English, has translated a recently discovered German manuscript Darkness at Noon (Scribner, 2019) by the late Arthur Koestler. Originally published in 1940, Koestler’s book eventually became an international bestseller. He told in fictional form the realistic story of a former Soviet Communist Party leader who became a victim of Stalin’s purges in the 1930s. The story is loosely modeled on Nikolai Bukharin’s show trial in 1938. Koestler’s book was originally translated into English by his girlfriend and the original was thought to have been lost during World War II. However, in 2015, a graduate student in Switzerland discovered a copy of the original German manuscript and this was the work Boehm translated into English for this recent edition. During this interview we discuss the plot, its relevance to real Soviet purges, and the translation process.
Ian J. Drake is Associate Professor of Jurisprudence, Montclair State University.