|Birth Day:||September 5, 1905|
|Death Date:||Mar 1, 1983 (age 77)|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Arthur Koestler died on Mar 1, 1983 (age 77).
He studied engineering at Vienna Polytechnic University. He became a member of the Communist Party of Germany, but he resigned in 1938.
The outbreak of World War I in 1914 deprived Koestler's father of foreign suppliers and his business collapsed. Facing destitution, the family moved temporarily to a boarding house in Vienna. When the war ended, the family returned to Budapest.
Later the Koestlers witnessed the temporary occupation of Budapest by the Romanian Army and then the White Terror under the right-wing regime of Admiral Horthy. In 1920 the family returned to Vienna, where Henrik set up a successful new import business.
In September 1922 Arthur enrolled in the Vienna Polytechnic University to study engineering, and joined a Zionist duelling student fraternity, 'Unitas.' . When Henrik's latest business failed, Koestler stopped attending lectures, and was expelled for non-payment of fees. In March 1926 he wrote a letter to his parents telling them that he was going to Mandate Palestine for a year to work as an assistant engineer in a factory, in order to gain experience to help him obtain a job in Austria. On 1 April 1926 he left Vienna for Palestine.
For a few weeks Koestler lived in a kibbutz, but his application to join the collective (Kvutzat Heftziba) was rejected by its members. For the next twelve months he supported himself with menial jobs in Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem. Frequently penniless and starving, he often depended on friends and acquaintances for survival. He occasionally wrote or edited broadsheets and other publications, mostly in German. In early 1927 he left Palestine briefly for Berlin, where he ran the Secretariat of Ze'ev Jabotinsky's Revisionist Party.
In June 1929, while on leave in Berlin, Koestler successfully lobbied at Ullstein for a transfer away from Palestine. In September he was sent to Paris to fill a vacancy in the bureau of the Ullstein News Service. In 1931, he was called to Berlin and appointed science editor of the Vossische Zeitung and science adviser to the Ullstein newspaper empire. In July 1931, he was Ullstein's choice to represent the paper on board the Graf Zeppelin's week-long polar flight, which carried a team of scientists and the polar aviator Lincoln Ellsworth to 82 degrees North and back. Koestler was the only journalist on board: his live wireless broadcasts, and subsequent articles and lecture tours throughout Europe, brought him further kudos. Soon afterwards he was appointed foreign editor and assistant editor-in-chief of the mass-circulation Berliner Zeitung am Mittag.
In 1931, Koestler, encouraged by Eva Striker, and impressed by the achievements of the Soviet Union, became a supporter of Marxism-Leninism. On 31 December 1931, he applied for membership of the Communist Party of Germany. As noted in his biography, he was disappointed in the conduct of the Vossische Zeitung, "The Flagship of German Liberalism", which adapted to changing times by firing Jewish journalists, hiring writers with marked German Nationalist views, and dropping its longstanding campaign against capital punishment. Koestler concluded that Liberals and moderate Democrats could not stand up against the rising Nazi tide and that the Communists were the only real counter-force.
In 1932 Koestler travelled in Turkmenistan and Central Asia. In September 1933 he returned to Paris and for the next two years was active in anti-Fascist movements. He wrote propaganda under the direction of Willi Münzenberg, the Comintern's chief propaganda director in the West.
In 1935 Koestler married Dorothy Ascher, a fellow Communist activist. (They separated amicably in 1937).
In 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, he undertook a visit to General Francisco Franco's headquarters in Seville on behalf of the Comintern, pretending to be a Franco sympathiser and using credentials from the London daily News Chronicle as cover. He collected evidence of the direct involvement of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany on Franco's side, which at that time the Nationalist rebels were still trying to conceal. He had to escape after he was recognised and denounced as a Communist by a German former colleague. Back in France he wrote L'Espagne Ensanglantée, which was later incorporated into his book Spanish Testament.
In 1937 he returned to Loyalist Spain as a war correspondent for the News Chronicle, and was in Málaga when it fell to Mussolini's troops, who were fighting on the side of the Nationalists. He took refuge in the house of retired zoologist Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell, and they were both arrested by Franco's chief propagandist, Luis Bolín. He had sworn that if he ever got his hands on Koestler, he would "shoot him like a dog". From February until June, Koestler was imprisoned in Seville under sentence of death. He was eventually exchanged for a "high value" Nationalist prisoner held by the Loyalists, the wife of one of Franco's ace fighter pilots. Koestler was one of the few authors to have been sentenced to death, an experience he wrote about in Dialogue with Death. As he noted in his autobiography, his estranged wife Dorothy Ascher had greatly contributed to saving his life by intensive, months-long lobbying on his behalf in Britain. When he went to Britain after his release, the couple tried to resume their marriage, but Koestler's gratitude to her proved an insufficient foundation for a daily life together.
In July 1938 Koestler finished work on his novel The Gladiators. Later that year he resigned from the Communist Party and started work on a new novel, which was published in London under the title Darkness at Noon (1941). Also in 1938 he became editor of Die Zukunft (The Future), a German-language weekly published in Paris.
In 1939 Koestler met and formed an attachment to the British sculptor Daphne Hardy. They lived together in Paris, and she translated the manuscript of Darkness at Noon from German into English in early 1940. She smuggled it out of France when they left ahead of the German occupation and arranged for its publication after reaching London that year.
After the outbreak of World War II, Koestler returned from the South of France to Paris. He attempted to turn himself in to the authorities as a foreign national several times and was finally arrested on 2 October 1939. The French government first detained Koestler at Stade Roland Garros until he was moved to Le Vernet Internment Camp among other "undesirable aliens", most of them refugees. He was released in early 1940 in response to strong British pressure.
Arriving in the UK without an entry permit, Koestler was imprisoned pending examination of his case. He was still in prison when Daphne Hardy's English translation of his book Darkness at Noon was published in early 1941.
In March 1942 Koestler was assigned to the Ministry of Information, where he worked as a scriptwriter for propaganda broadcasts and films. In his spare time he wrote Arrival and Departure, the third in his trilogy of novels that included Darkness at Noon. He also wrote several essays, which were subsequently collected and published in The Yogi and the Commissar. One of the essays, titled "On Disbelieving Atrocities" (originally published in The New York Times), was about the Nazi atrocities against the Jews.
Daphne Hardy, who had been doing war work in Oxford, joined Koestler in London in 1943, but they parted company a few months later. They remained good friends until Koestler's death.
In December 1944 Koestler travelled to Palestine with accreditation from The Times. There he had a clandestine meeting with Menachem Begin, the head of the Irgun paramilitary organisation, who was wanted by the British and had a 500-pound bounty on his head. Koestler tried to persuade him to abandon militant attacks and accept a two-state solution for Palestine, but failed. Many years later Koestler wrote in his memoirs: "When the meeting was over, I realised how naïve I had been to imagine that my arguments would have even the slightest influence."
Staying in Palestine until August 1945, Koestler collected material for his next novel, Thieves in the Night. When he returned to England, Mamaine Paget, whom he had started to see before going out to Palestine, was waiting for him. In August 1945 the couple moved to the cottage of Bwlch Ocyn, a secluded farmhouse that belonged to Clough Williams-Ellis, in the Vale of Ffestiniog. Over the next three years, Koestler became a close friend of writer George Orwell. The region had its own intellectual circle, which would have been sympathetic to Koestler: Williams-Ellis' wife, Amabel, a niece of Lytton Strachey, was also a former communist; other associates included Rupert Crawshay-Williams, Michael Polanyi, Storm Jameson and, most significantly, Bertrand Russell, who lived just a few miles from the Koestler cottage.
In August 1945 Koestler was in Palestine where he read in the Jerusalem Post about the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. "That's the end of the world war", he said to a friend -- "and it is also the beginning of the end of the world."
In 1948, when war broke out between the newly declared State of Israel and the neighbouring Arab states, Koestler was accredited by several newspapers, American, British and French, and travelled to Israel. Mamaine Paget went with him. They arrived in Israel on 4 June and stayed there until October. Later that year they decided to leave the UK for a while and move to France. News that his long-pending application for British nationality had been granted reached him in France in late December; early in 1949 he returned to London to swear the oath of allegiance to the British Crown.
In January 1949 Koestler and Paget moved to a house he had bought in France. There he wrote a contribution to The God That Failed and finished work on Promise and Fulfilment. The latter book received poor reviews in both the U.S. and the UK. In 1949 he also published the non-fiction Insight and Outlook. This too received lukewarm reviews.
Koestler had reached agreement with his first wife, Dorothy, on an amicable divorce, and their marriage was dissolved on 15 December 1949. This cleared the way for his marriage to Mamaine Paget, which took place on 15 April 1950 at the British Consulate in Paris.
Koestler was Jewish by birth, but he did not practise the religion. In an interview published in the (London) Jewish Chronicle in 1950 he argued that Jews should either emigrate to Israel or assimilate completely into the majority cultures they lived in.
In January 1951 a dramatised version of Darkness at Noon, by Sidney Kingsley, opened in New York. It won the New York Drama Critics Award. Koestler donated all his royalties from the play to a fund he had set up to help struggling authors, the Fund for Intellectual Freedom (FIF). In June a bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate to grant Koestler permanent residence in the U.S. Koestler sent tickets for the play to his House sponsor Richard Nixon and his Senate sponsor Owen Brewster, a close confidant of Joseph McCarthy. The bill became law on 23 August 1951 as Private Law 221 Chapter 343 "AN ACT For the relief of Arthur Koestler".
In 1951 the last of Koestler's political works, The Age of Longing, was published. In it he examined the political landscape of post-war Europe and the problems facing the continent.
In August 1952 his marriage to Mamaine collapsed. They separated, but remained close until her sudden and unexpected death in June 1954. The book Living with Koestler: Mamaine Koestler's Letters 1945–51, edited by Mamaine's twin sister Celia Goodman, gives insight into their lives together.
The first two volumes of his autobiography, Arrow in the Blue, which covers his life up to December 1931 when he joined the German Communist Party, and The Invisible Writing, which covers the years 1932 to 1940, were published in 1952 and 1954, respectively. A collection of essays, The Trail of the Dinosaur and Other Essays, on the perils he saw facing western civilisation, was published in 1955.
As noted in Koestler's autobiography, he and his family were sympathetic to the short-lived Hungarian Bolshevik Revolution of 1919. Though the small soap factory owned at the time by Koestler's father was nationalised, the elder Koestler was appointed its director by the revolutionary government and was well-paid. Even though the autobiography was published in 1953, after Koestler had become an outspoken anti-Communist, he wrote favorably of the Hungarian Communists and their leader Béla Kun. He fondly recalled the hopes for a better future he had felt as a teenager in revolutionary Budapest.
Koestler decided to make his permanent home in Britain. In May 1953 he bought a three-storey Georgian town house on Montpelier Square in London, and sold his houses in France and the United States.
On 13 April 1955 Janine Graetz, with whom Koestler had an on-off relationship over a period of years, gave birth to his daughter Cristina. Despite repeated attempts by Janine to persuade Koestler to show some interest in her, Koestler had almost no contact with Cristina throughout his life. Early in 1956 he arranged for Cynthia to have an abortion when she became pregnant; it was then illegal.
Although Koestler resumed work on a biography of Kepler in 1955, it was not published until 1959. In the interim it was entitled The Sleepwalkers. The emphasis of the book had changed and broadened to "A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe", which also became the book's subtitle. Copernicus and Galileo were added to Kepler as the major subjects of the book.
Later in 1956, as a consequence of the Hungarian Uprising, Koestler became busy organising anti-Soviet meetings and protests. In June 1957 Koestler gave a lecture at a symposium in Alpbach, Austria, and fell in love with the village. He bought land there, had a house built, and for the next twelve years used it as a place for summer vacations and for organising symposia.
In May 1958 he had a hernia operation. In December he left for India and Japan, and was away until early 1959. Based on his travels, he wrote the book The Lotus and the Robot.
In early 1960, on his way back from a conference in San Francisco, Koestler interrupted his journey at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where some experimental research was going on with hallucinogens. He tried psilocybin and had a "bad trip". Later, when he arrived at Harvard to see Timothy Leary, he experimented with more drugs, but was not enthusiastic about that experience either.
In November 1960 he was elected to a Fellowship of The Royal Society of Literature.
In 1962, along with his agent, A D Peters and the editor of The Observer, David Astor, Koestler set up a scheme to encourage prison inmates to engage in arts activities and to reward their efforts. Koestler Arts supports over 7,000 entrants from UK prisons each year and awards prizes in fifty different artforms. In September each year, Koestler Arts run an exhibition at London's Southbank Centre.
Koestler's book The Act of Creation was published in May 1964. In November he undertook a lecture tour of various universities in California. In 1965 he married Cynthia in New York; they moved to California, where he participated in a series of seminars at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.
Koestler spent most of 1966 and the early months of 1967 working on The Ghost in the Machine. In his article "Return Trip to Nirvana", published in 1967 in the Sunday Telegraph, Koestler wrote about the drug culture and his own experiences with hallucinogens. The article also challenged the defence of drugs in Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception.
In April 1968 Koestler was awarded the Sonning Prize "for [his] outstanding contribution to European culture". The Ghost in the Machine was published in August of same year and in the autumn he received an honorary doctorate from Queen's University, Kingston, Canada. In the later part of November the Koestlers flew to Australia for a number of television appearances and press interviews.
In addition to his specific critiques of neo-Darwinism, Koestler was opposed to what he saw as dangerous scientific reductionism more generally, including the behaviourism school of psychology, promoted in particular by B. F. Skinner during the 1930s. Koestler assembled a group of high-profile antireductionist scientists, including C. H. Waddington, W. H. Thorpe and Ludwig von Bertalanffy, for a meeting at his retreat in Alpbach in 1968. This was one of many attempts which Koestler made to gain acceptance within the mainstream of science, a strategy which brought him into conflict with individuals such as Peter Medawar who saw themselves as defending the integrity of science from outsiders. Although he never gained significant credibility as a scientist, Koestler published a number of works at the border between science and philosophy, such as Insight and Outlook, The Act of Creation and The Ghost in the Machine.
Early in 1976 Koestler was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. The trembling of his hand made writing progressively more difficult. He cut back on overseas trips and spent the summer months at a farmhouse in Denston, Suffolk, which he had bought in 1971. That same year saw the publication of The Thirteenth Tribe, which presents his controversial and contentious Khazar hypothesis of Ashkenazi ancestry.
In 1978 Koestler published Janus: A Summing Up. In 1980 he was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. His book Bricks to Babel was published that year. His final book, Kaleidoscope, containing essays from Drinkers of Infinity and The Heel of Achilles: Essays 1968–1973, with some later pieces and stories, was published in 1981.
The funeral was held at the Mortlake Crematorium in South London on 11 March 1983.
Koestler's relations with women have been a source of controversy. David Cesarani alleged in his biography of Koestler, published in 1998, that Koestler had been a serial rapist, citing the case of the British feminist writer Jill Craigie, who said that she had been one of his victims in 1951. Feminist protesters forced the removal of his bust from Edinburgh University. In his biography, Koestler: The Indispensable Intellectual (2009), Michael Scammell countered that Craigie was the only woman to go on record that she had been raped by Koestler, and had done so at a dinner party more than fifty years after the event. Claims that Koestler had been violent were added by Craigie later, although Scammell concedes that Koestler could be rough and sexually aggressive. Some critics believed that Cesarani's claims of Koestler having been a 'serial rapist' were unfounded; in his review of Cesarani's biography in The New York Times, the historian Mark Mazower observed: "Even those who applaud Cesarani for bringing the rape issue forward may wonder whether his approach is not too one-sided to make for a convincing portrait. Koestler was a domineering man. But he attracted women and many remained close friends after they had slept with him. It is implausible to write them all off as masochists, as Cesarani effectively does. Some broke with him; but then so did many other friends and acquaintances." Similarly, John Banville, in the London Review of Books, wrote:
Arthur was married three times: first to Dorothy Ascher from 1935 to 1950 and second to Mamaine Paget from 1950 until 1952. Arthur was married to his third wife Cynthia Jefferies from 1965 until they committed suicide together in 1983.
Currently, Arthur Koestler is 116 years, 11 months and 10 days old. Arthur Koestler will celebrate 117th birthday on a Monday 5th of September 2022. Below we countdown to Arthur Koestler upcoming birthday.