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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2 October 2019


An interesting email from the Rev. Richard Martin of Glasgow arrived in my inbox a few weeks ago. “Apologies if I am the 4000th person to make this point!” he writes, but after reading my introduction to Paul Boehm’s new translation of Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, he is wondering if my explanation for the English title could be wrong. Surely, the...

30 September 2019

Darkness at Noon - New English Translation Published

When I first read the newly discovered German typescript and decided to push for a new English translation of Arthur Koestler's dystopian novel, Darkness at Noon, I was aware there was a risk...

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...

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