Arthur Koestler

[The Koestler Trust]

Arthur Koestler

set text:

Dialogue with Death. Trans. Trevor & Phyllis Blewitt. 1937. Abridged ed., 1942. Rev. Danube ed., 1966. London: Papermac, 1983.

[Monday, March 15, 1937]:


Despite all my feelings of self-respect I cannot help looking on the warders as superior beings. The consciousness of being confined acts like a slow poison, transforming the entire character. This is more than a mere psychological change, it is not an inferiority complex - it is, rather, an inevitable natural process. When I was writing my novel about the gladiators I always wondered why the Roman slaves, who were twice, three times as numerous as the freemen, did not turn the tables on their masters. Now it is beginning gradually to dawn on me what the slave mentality really is. I could wish that everyone who talks of mass psychology should experience a year of prison.

I had never believed the saying that a dictatorship or a single person or a minority can maintain its ascendancy by the sword alone. But I had not known how living and real were those atavistic forces that paralyse the majority from within.

I did not know how quickly one comes to regard a privileged stratum of men as beings of a higher biological species and to take their privileges for granted as though they were natural endowments. Don Ramón has the key and I am in the cage; Don Ramón, as well as I, looks upon this state of things as entirely natural and is far from regarding it as in any way an anomaly.

And if a crazy agitator were to come and preach to us that all men are equal, we should both laugh him to scorn; Don Ramón with all his heart, I, it is true, only half-heartedly ­ but all the same I should laugh.

- Dialogue with Death (1983): 136-37.

Select Bibliography:


Spanish Testament (1937)

Scum of the Earth (1941)

Dialogue with Death (1942)

[with others] The God That Failed (1950)

Arrow In The Blue: The First Volume Of An Autobiography, 1905-31 (1952)

The Invisible Writing: The Second Volume Of An Autobiography, 1932-40 (1954)

Stranger on the Square (1984)


Twilight Bar (1945)


The Gladiators (1939)

Darkness at Noon (1940)

Arrival and Departure (1943)

Thieves in the Night (1946)

The Age of Longing (1951)

The Call Girls: A Tragicomedy with a Prologue and Epilogue (1972)

essays & non-fiction:

Von weissen Nächten und roten Tagen (1934)

The Yogi and the Commissar and other essays (1945)

The Challenge of our Time (1949)

Promise and Fulfilment: Palestine 1917-1949 (1949)

Insight and Outlook (1949)

The Trail of the Dinosaur and other essays (1955)

Reflections on Hanging (1956)

The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe (1959)

The Watershed: A Biography of Johannes Kepler (1960)

The Lotus and the Robot (1960)

Control of the Mind (1961)

Hanged by the Neck (1961)

Suicide of a Nation (1963)

The Act of Creation (1964)

The Ghost in the Machine (1967)

Drinkers of Infinity: Essays 1955-1967 (1968)

The Case of the Midwife Toad (1971)

The Roots of Coincidence (1972)

The Lion and the Ostrich (1973)

The Heel of Achilles: Essays 1968-1973 (1974)

The Thirteenth Tribe: The Khazar Empire and Its Heritage (1976)

Janus: A Summing Up (1978)

Bricks to Babel (1980)

Kaleidoscope (1981)


[with J. R. Smythies] Beyond Reductionism: The Alpbach Symposium. New Perspectives in the Life Sciences (1969)

[co-editor] The Challenge of Chance: A Mass Experiment in Telepathy and Its Unexpected Outcome (1973)

The Concept of Creativity in Science and Art (1976)

[co-editor] Life After Death (co-editor, 1976)

Biography & Secondary Literature:

Astride the Two Cultures: Arthur Koestler at 70 (1976)

Atkins, J. Arthur Koestler (1956)

Buckard, Christian G. Arthur Koestler: Ein extremes Leben 1905-1983 (1984)

Cesarani, David. Arthur Koestler: The Homeless Mind (1998)

Hamilton, Iain. Koestler: A Biography (1982)

Koestler, Mamaine. Living with Koestler (1985)

Levene, M. Arthur Koestler (1984)

Mikes, George. Arthur Koestler: The Story of a Friendship (1983)

Pearson, S. A. Arthur Koestler (1978)

Twentieth Century Views: A Collection of Critical Essays (1977)

Homepages & Online Information:

Arthur Koestler Project

Koestler Parapsychology Unit

The Koestler Trust: Arts by Offenders

Wikipedia entry

[David Cesarani: Arthur Koestler: The Homeless Mind (1998)]

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