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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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 the young German scholar who discovered the text, Matthias Wessel. Elsinor published the original German edition of Darkness at Noon as long ago as 1946, but that was a back-translation from a flawed...

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...

24 June 2015

"100 Biographies to Love"

Last Sunday (June 21) the Culture supplement of the London Sunday Times published a special feature with the self-explanatory title, "100 biographies to love," that included the two by myself,...

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