Michael Scammell

Michael Scammell is the author of Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth Century Skeptic and Solzhenitsyn, A Biography. He has translated books by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Nabokov into English and writes regularly about Russian and East European literature. 

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Praise for Michael Scammell

  • Koestler himself seems so alive he might leap off the page.

    Anne Applebaum, The New York Review of Books

  • A terrific biography... every page is enthralling.

    Michael Dirda, Washington Post

  • Superb biography.

    Paul Berman, The New Republic

  • A prodigy of research in many languages.

    Louis Menand, The New Yorker

  • Tremendous, absorbing.

    Neal Ascherson, London Review of Books

  • Magisterial.

    John Carey, The Sunday Times (UK)


The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic

The Indispensable Intellectual


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12 December 2018

New News Item Page


"The Writer Who Destroyed an Empire"

December 11, 2018 was the hundredth anniversary of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's birthday. An op-ed I wrote to mark the occasion was published yesterday in the online edition of the New York Times and shorter version appears today in the print edition. The longer version can be checked out...

15 May 2018

Darkness at Noon - New German Edition

The original German text of Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon (see my last news entry) has just been published by Elsinor Verlag in Coesfeld, Germany, with my introduction and an afterword by...

24 March 2016

Light on Darkness at Noon

Sensational news for Koestler watchers. A German graduate student, Matthias Wessel, was searching some files in the Zurich Central Library last July and stumbled across a manuscript that turned...

10 November 2015

Koestler's Near-miss in Hollywood

When I wrote and published my biography of Arthur Koestler, I was completely unaware that Koestler’s work had so narrowly failed to make it to the screen in Hollywood. I knew that soon after...

6 October 2015

Enough of this Mayakovskery?

Though I am more interested in prose than poetry, I seem to spend a lot of time writing about modern Russian and East European poetry (Pasternak, Milosz and Brodsky are relatively recent...

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