معرفی کتاب ظلمت در نیمروز

اثر آرتور کوستلر از انتشارات ماهی - مترجم: مژده دقیقی-داستان پاد آرمان شهر

ارسال شده توسط ایران کتاب در تاریخ دوشنبه 8 آبان 1396
آرتور کوستلر در ابتدای ظلمت در نیمروز نوشته شخصیت‌های این داستان خیالی‌اند و شرایط تاریخی که آنها را به عمل واداشته واقعی است. کتاب اتفاقات شوروی در سال ۱۹۳۸؛ یک سال قبل از شروع جنگ جهانی دوم را بازنمایی می‌کند. روباشوف شخصیت اصلی داستان یکی از رهبران انقلاب ۱۹۱۷ است که حالا گرفتار زندان و حکمی سنگین شده و جزئیاتی تکان‌دهنده و آشنا از زندان را برای خواننده شرح می‌دهد. ویژگی‌های رهبران فکری انقلاب بلشویکی و سیاستمداران برجسته‌ی شوروی در شخصیت روباشوف به هم آمیخته و شرح زندان و اعترافات او بازتاب آرای سیاسی روز است. کوستلر مضامین سیاسی و فلسفی را در روایت روان‌شناختی جذابی در هم می‌تند و به کمک‌ بحث‌های منطقی و نمادهای مذهبی، سیاست را با روان‌شناسی و فردگرایی می‌آمیزد.

ظلمت در نیمروز یکی از تاثیرگذارترین رمان‌های سیاسی قرن است و نویسندگان بسیاری آن را در زمره‌ی مهمترین متن‌های روشنفکری علیه کمونیسم برشمرده‌اند. کوستلر کتاب را به زبان آلمانی نوشت و زمانی که در زندان بود با ترجمه‌ی انگلیسی در انگلستان انتشار یافت و نقطه‌ی عطفی در گذر از دهه ۱۹۳۰ به سال‌های جنگ سرد شد.


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تاریخ ظلمات
درباره‌ی «ظلمت در نیمروز» و ترجمه‌های فارسی‌اش

میلاد کامیابیان

کتاب‌های بسیاری تاریخ را روایت می‌کنند و کتاب‌های بسیار کمی اهمیت تاریخی دارند. اما کتاب‌هایی که این هر دو ویژگی را باهم داشته باشند انگشت‌شمارند. «ظلمت در نیمروز» آرتور کوستلر یکی از آن‌هاست. نویسنده خودش از آن تاریخ‌سازها بوده: تا پیش از وقوع جنگ جهانیِ دوم فرصت کرده، با چرخشی اساسی، از صهیونیسم به کمونیسم بگراید و از آن هم بگسلد و، بعد، در حین جنگ، در فرانسه زندانی شود و به ارتش بریتانیا بپوندد و برای بی‌بی‌سی کار کند و، پس از پایان جنگ، در فرانسه ساکن شود تا، سرانجام، همراه همسر سومش خودخواسته به زندگی‌اش پایان بدهد، در 78سالگی. پرماجرا بودن زندگیِ کوستلر داشت باعث می‌شد یادمان برود: او در جنگ داخلیِ اسپانیا هم جنگیده بوده. این کتاب، مهم‌ترین اثرش، را اما پس از تصفیه‌های استالینی نوشته، سال‌های پایانیِ دهه‌ی 1930 و قبل از آغاز جنگ.
نام کتاب یک‌راست از انجیل آمده، به روایت مرقس: «به هنگام نیمروز، ظلمت همه‌جا را فراگرفت و تا ساعت سه بعدازظهر ادامه یافت. در این وقت، عیسی با صدای بلند فریاد زد: ایلوئی، ایلوئی، لما سبقتنی؟ (خدای من، خدای من، چرا مرا تنها گذارده‌ای؟)» این نام‌گذاری با درون‌مایه‌ی رمان همخوان است: قهرمان رمان، نیکلای روباشف، که از بنیادگذاران انقلاب بوده، حالا و در دوران حکومت «شخص اول» خودش متهم به خیانت به انقلاب است و در حبس. به‌علاوه، می‌شود نتیجه گرفت که نامِ برگرفته از سنت الهیات مسیحیِ کتاب، به شکلی ضمنی، اشاره دارد به بیراهه‌ای که حکومت استالینیستی شوروی، پس از مرگ لنین، در پی گرفت و حاصلش برآمدن شکل دیگری از حکومت اسطوره‌مبنا بود. هرچه باشد، قدر و منزلت «شخص اول»، معادل ژورف استالین در رمان، دست‌کمی از جایگاه الوهی تزارهای پیشین، که «پدر» رعایا دانسته می‌شدند، نداشت و کوستلر هم از نخستین کمونیست‌هایی بود که، در سال 1938، با اطلاع از محاکمه‌ها و اعدام‌های حکومت استالین از حزب رویگردان شد. این چرخش ایدئولوژیک نویسنده، در رمان، خود را در وادادنِ غاییِ روباشفِ آرمان‌خواه و اعتراف بی‌فرجامش به تمام خطاهای کرده و ناکرده نمایان می‌کند، هرچند تردید درباره‌ی درست یا غلط بودن آنچه کرد، انقلاب، تا دم مرگ هم دست از گریبان او نمی‌دارد.
ترجمه‌ی این رمان به فارسی هم تاریخ خودش را دارد: حالا، ترجمه‌ی مژده دقیقی از این اثر که به‌تازگی منتشر شده –اگر اشتباه نکنم– می‌شود پنجمین ترجمه‌ی ظلمت در نیروز. از مترجم‌های شناخته‌شده‌ی این سال‌ها، قبل‌تر، اوایل سال‌های هشتاد، اسدالله امرایی این کتاب را ترجمه کرده و، خیلی قبل‌تر از او، گویا در سال 1331، علی‌اصغر خبره‌زاده. با توجه به حال‌وهوای مجامع روشنفکریِ آن دوران و اوضاع حزب توده و انشعاب نیروی سوم و غیره، بی‌که حتی از رفاقت خبره‌زاده و آل‌احمد باخبر باشیم، می‌شود موقعیت تاریخیِ اثر را در میدان تولید فکری و ادبی آن زمان تخمین و معناهای فرامتنی‌اش را حدس زد. به همین سیاق و با قرار دادن متن در زمینه‌ی تاریخی‌اش، درمی‌یابیم که ترجمه‌ی امرایی درست در سال‌هایی منتشر شد که، مبتنی بر سیاست‌هایی کلان‌تر از سیاست‌های ناظر بر ترجمه و نشر کتاب، چپ سیاسی در حال تقلیل به کمونیسم و کمونیسم در حال فروکاست به استالینسم بود و، تو گویی، وقت آن رسیده بود که از «عمو ژوزف» لولویی ساخته شود برای لرزه انداختن بر اندام طبقه‌ی متوسطی که تازه داشت با برج و بزرگ‌راه و بِرَندهای جهانی اخت می‌شد، که شد.
به هر حال، یکی از محاسن ترجمه‌های متعدد یک اثر همین است که نشان‌مان می‌دهد چه‌طور در طی دهه‌ها پارادایم‌ها تغییر می‌کنند. اثری که بخت ترجمه‌ی مجدد را می‌یابد، فارغ از تحولات زبانیِ رخ‌داده، تغییرات بنیادیِ اوضاع کلی‌تر جامعه را عیان می‌کند و این خودْ کیفیت تاریخیِ مضاعفی برای آن اثر پدید می‌آورد، حتی اگر، چنان‌که پیش‌تر گفتیم، مانند ظلمت در نیمروز آرتور کوستلر، یکی از آن کتاب‌های انگشت‌شماری باشد که هم روایتی تاریخی به دست می‌دهد و هم خودْ واجد اهمیتی تاریخی است. ظلمت در نیمروز، البته برای ما، چنین است و چیزی از این بیش.‏

_________________

این یادداشت در «اعتماد»:‏
http://etemadnewspaper.ir/Released/92...

در وبلاگ من، «پوئتیکا»:‏
http://poesis.blogfa.com/post/76/%D8%...


مشاهده لینک اصلی
@ظلمت در نیمروز@
نوشته ی @آرتور کاستلر@ نویسنده ی مجارستانی است که بهترین اثر او به شمار می رود.
در این رمان ،از دستگیری تا اعدام بولشویک پا به سن گذاشته ای به نام «روباشوف» را میخانیم که( در داستان) از رهبران انقلاب ۱۹۱۷ و عضوی از کمیته مرکزی حزب کمونیست شوروی بوده.


عنوان کتاب @ ظلمت در نیمروز @ اصطلاحی‌ است که از انجیل گرفته شده و به معنای آن است که کسی به گناه ناکرده دم تیغ برود.


به هنگام نیمروز ظلمت همه‌جا را فراگرفت و تا ساعت سه بعدازظهر ادامه یافت.

در این وقت عیسی با صدای بلند فریاد زد: «ایلوئی ایلوئی لما سبقتنی» یعنی خدای من، خدای من، چرا مرا تنها گذارده‌ای؟

انجیل مرقس، باب پانزدهم، آیات ۳۳ و ۳۴





:بریده ای از کتاب




:گزیده ای از یادداشتهای روباشوف در زندان

...
گویی با حرکت پاندولی ساعت رو به رو هستیم،نوسان بین سلطنت مطلقه به دموکراسی و از دموکراسی به دیکتاتوری مطلق.
میزان آزادی فردی که مردم به دست می اورند و حفظ می کنند به درجه بلوغ سیاسی شان بستگی دارد.حرکت پاندولی فوق الذکر نشان می دهد که بلوغ سیاسی توده ها مانند رشد جسمی فرد از منحنی رو به رشد پیروی نمی کند و قوانین پیچیده تری بر آن حاکم است.
بلوغ توده ها در ظرفیت توانایی درک منافع اصلی شان نهفته است.به هر حال این موضوع درک ِ روندِ مشخص تولید و توزیع کالا را پیش فرض می داند.از این رو ظرفیت مردم برای حکومت مردم سالاری با میزان درک آنها از ساز و کار کلی جامعه تناسب دارد.
حال هر یشرفت فنی، پیچیدگی تازه ای در دستگاه اقتصادی ایجاد می کند و عوامل و ترکیب های جدیدی پدید می آورد که توده ها مدتی نمی توانند در آن نفوذ یابند. با هر جهش و پیشرفت فنی ، گسترش نسبی درک توده ها یک مرحله عقب می ماند و دماسنج بلو.غ سیاسی پایین می آید.
گاهی دهها سال و گاه چندین نسل طول می کشد تا میزان درک مردم به تدریج با تغییرات تطابق یابد و ظرفیت و لیاقت حکومت بر خود را - که در مرحله پایین تر تمدن داشتند - بار دیگر به دست آورند.بدین ترتیب بلوغ سیاسی توده ها را نمی توان با رقم مطلق سنجید،بلکه باید به طرز نسبی در نظر گرفت،یعنی به نسبت سطح تمدن در آن زمان.
...



مشاهده لینک اصلی
Darkness at Noon is one of the classics of anti-totalitarian literature, often mentioned alongside novels such as Brave New World and 1984. While both these novels are fictions based on an idea of a totalitarian state, Darkness at Noon is a clear allegory of Soviet Russia during the 1930s - the time of the Moscow show trials and the Great Purge.

Although the author openly acknowledges this in the preface, the country in which the book is set is never named - though he includes specific details regarding it, so there never is any doubt. Character are less people than ideas and themes they represent - the main protagonist, Rubashov, is an amalgamation of all of the Old Bolsheviks who were persecuted by Stalin in the 30s. The plot focuses on Rubashovs imprisonment in an unnamed facility, his interaction with fellow inmates and ongoing interrogation. Koestler does a great job with presenting a convincing portrait of a man trying to endure oppression and isolation - he apparently drew inspiration from his own experiences from Spain, where he was imprisoned by Francos forces during the civil war.

It is interesting to note that contrary to many protagonists of anti-totalitarian novels, Rubashov is not an ordinary and innocent citizen persecuted by the overwhelming regime - he is one of the people who have actively participated in bringing this very regime into being, causing suffering and misery for fellow citizens along the way. This question begins to haunt Rubashov - what, exactly, is he fighting for? What is the weight of individual human life when measured against a possibility of prosperity and contentment for generations to come? Can we sacrifice tens, thousands and even millions of such lives if we will ultimately eliminate suffering for all in the future? Does the nobility of the goal excuse the means used to obtain it, and sacrifices required by it? While we might sympathize with Rubashov because of how he is treated and the conditions that he is in, we must also remember that he is reaping exactly what he has sown with his own hands - something that he begins to understand and ultimately accept throughout the novel.

It is also important to see the book in its historical context. At the time of publication (1940), it was not uncommon to find many foreigners who were sympathetic to Stalin and his rule of the Soviet Union, praising his achievements of industrializing the country and bettering life for his people - and either ignoring what reports there were of his tyranny, or excusing them as historically inevitable. One of the more famous examples is the American journalist and correspondent for the New York Times Walter Duranty, who in the 1930s not only tried to justify Stalins government but openly denounced in his reporting that any famine was taking place in the Ukraine - a result of Stalins policy of collectivizing agriculture, which took several million lives in an area with some of the worlds richest farmland. Many other foreigners - both intellectuals who never worked physically in their life, and laborers who never rested - romanticized the Soviet Union, in which they saw hope for a real and viable alternative to the unfair capitalist order - their memories of the Great Depression were still fresh and strong - but, unlike Duranty, they believed in the ideas of fairness, equality and prosperity for all, which the Soviet government claimed to stand for; as they learned of how a real revolution was hijacked and twisted into a totalitarian nightmare, they denounced it. Walter Duranty was fully aware of the fact that hunger victims could have extended well into millions, but nonetheless continued to report that there was no famine - did he believe in the Soviet vision? Did he believe that Stalins actions were justified by what he claimed to be his intent - an utopia? Inexplicably, one can find people with views very similar to his decades after Stalins policy was proven to be a deadly failure, ready to defend him and excuse his actions. What are they defending? A paradise which never arrived?

Koehlers book has the distinction of being probably the first book of fiction to address Stalins brand of totalitarianism almost by name - but in historical context it puts it slightly below novels 1984 and Brave New World, as it is inseparably tied to one particular regime and period in history which has since been analyzed by countless scholars - while both Orwell and Huxley had visions of future for the entire world. Still, it is certainly worth reading if you are at all interested in the topic of an individual living in a totalitarian system - and I also have to absolutely recommend Czesław Miłoszs The Captive Mind, which is a terrific analysis of the very topic and has the bonus of being non-fiction.



مشاهده لینک اصلی
An interesting novel but I find it pale in comparison with real prison literature, Id recommend Evgenia Ginzburgs memoir Journey into the Whirlwind above this without hesitation, not on account of literary merit but simply because of the authors sense of surprise at the unlikeliness of it all. Koestlers fiction is a work of the imagination. Something designed to serve the purposes of the author, that gives insight into their opinions and not into (save perhaps accidentally) the situation they are describing. It is I suppose in that way more akin to 1984 in its insights into the mind of somebody inside a totalitarian system than memoirs written inside the Soviet Union.

It was written in 1940, perhaps the way to think about it is the search of an intellectual outside the Soviet Union to understand the treason trials and the shocking confessions of old Bolsheviks and trying to make sense of that and explain it in fictional form to the reading public. The date is interesting. Within a year Stalin was due to become the great friend and ally of the Western powers. The show trials and executions that the hero of the story is caught up in occurred some years earlier.

Koestler was Hungarian and had experience of living under the Right-Wing regime of Admiral Horthy (Hungary doesnt have a sea coast, Horthy kept the rank as a souvenir from his days in the service of the Austro-Hungarian empire before the First World War, technologically he ruled Hungary as regent on behalf of the Emperor Charles, but on both occasions when Charles turned up in Hungary Horthy persuaded him that the time wasnt right for him to assume the throne and sent him back into exile again).

Whether Koestler ever had any contacts with any Bolsheviks, old or young is questionable, along with Arrival and Departure and The Gladiators this book is part of an exploration of the (extreme or normal by 30s standards?) politics of the 1920s and 30s much of which must have seemed absurd and incomprehensible to outside observers - something which we see in the figure of the old professor in Darkness at Noon, either pretending to himself or driven mad with the cognitive dissonance, still holding to the idea of the Soviet Union as a promised land.

It is the response of someone whose faith has been shaken searching for meaning in their world. It is Doestoevskys story of the Grand Inquisitor from The Brothers Karamazov adapted and applied to a contemporary situation in an attempt to make comprehensible alien states of mind and foreign political situations.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
A dark and intriguing study of the politics of revolution, counter-revolution, social experimentation on a grand scale – set against the backdrop of Stalin’s Moscow show trials.

This a dark story of one man’s (fictionalised although based on fact) experience of arrest, incarceration, torture and subsequent show trial.

This is all about thought control and the ethics / morals of ‘physical liquidation’ / execution and the wiping out of huge numbers of people as part of the revolutionary process and ongoing social experiment. It is at its heart a sociological study of revolution, power, truth, dialectical materialism, dissent and how those in power in any totalitarian state maintain that power whilst justifying / rationalising extreme measures in the name of the party and the revolution – about how dissidents are dealt with.

Various themes are explored concerning the prosecution / persecution of those on the basis, not just on the basis of crimes (allegedly) committed but also those which were expected to be committed against the state as a consequence of opinion - in other words, being charged on the basis of opinion, conscience and assumed intention.

This is a world where blind discipline and absolute trust constitute service to the party and where opposition and dissent is viewed as wrong, contemptible and punishable – all in the name of protecting the party and maintaining power.

Whilst quite a dense read at times, this is an important book which is intelligently written, portraying a frightening world.


مشاهده لینک اصلی
A best friend with different literary tastes than myself recommended a book. An historian buff he reported this psychological, political rendered piece of fiction as his all time favorite. A friendship of many years deserves its many sacrifices. A bit of time seemed small. Maybe many of us here at GR have been in this situation. A small amount of time sacrificed does not only mean plowing instead of the grace of reading but also not getting the time for the next book we have been waiting to read. Books are not like people. They cannot be predicted to react with the same molecular DNA strands of emotional combustion or lack of. When finally gotten to they are tired of waiting, have moved on to another partner. Wasted in waiting they curl drooping in boredom, recalcitrant, slouched, flat-faced. There is always the chance it may be the opposite and the passing of time may heighten the books appeal and rendering. It may be at its best and show itself as it always imagined. But this is not predictable as it sits in wait, as we in our steady plow continue.

I dont like books of fact, history, political anthems. I bought a used copy with a GPS decoy to find its own way back to an Amazon warehouse when finished. This was helpful. But, what was I going to say to my kind friend? Repeat the books flat facts and smile? Its called a conundrum, isnt it? Book Lovers Problem. BPL.

Okay, I could say that this political, historical book was a searing, scorching, dive into times passage, its traumatic effect on the equilibrium of human beings inhabiting this burning planet. But I didnt think it would help my book-in-waiting at all. Though it would help build myself up for what a good person I was to do all this.

What then though to say about the words vanishing? Some kind of practical joke? Who the hell gives a friend a book with no words. Im supposed to, what, make them up or imagine them? Thats what I did, not given any choice, I imagined. The next thing I knew I was confused, waking to two officers by my bed reporting they were arresting me. One older and reverent, the young kid full of his vigor and authority. People still called me Sir. My story will be written in other places before it is spoken here.They will give the usual reasons eventually. How quickly they forget my being tortured in other countries and not giving up a word. When released I returned home to cheering crowds. On crutches still, on a stage my words to them resounded loudly about the importance of the Revolution. There was no more @I@. Everything we do is for the Revolutionary Party. Everything we receive is to help the Party. We devote our entire lives to the Partys program which has been thought out by the smartest men with their powers of reason to the furthest possible moment of calculation. There is no, @I@. Its appeal for devotion, to forever change the future is possessive. Answers all questions.

The guy who is reading this seems like a nice enough a guy but clearly isnt ready to give up his guy-ship. He is recalling. He has no idea what power as a character in this story I have over him in this cell, he over me. With each person reading me I am somewhat invented according to their needs. Theirs to mine. It is my lot. This one is filled with jitters. He is older. Even though he speaks it, dresses himself up for it, he isnt quite clear he wants to reevaluate the history of his life and pass a new judgement on it. Perhaps he was wrong? Freeing the African Americans, Women, from the tight straps preventing them their civil rights in a democracy. He saw a war stopped, cities set afire, government buildings taken over. Seeing the possibilities of creating a democracy formed within a democracy in name only. The Revolution became lost under the blurred shadows of capitalisms fear, the revolutionaries aging into the cowardice of security, the message subsumed within the culture. The Causes though continued. The strength of African Americans and Women have not wavered. The difference between then and now is remarkable. More so is the new generations coming of age could care less what happened then. Rightfully they want more of what is just and fair. They show an historic endurance. Their movements shall continue without the need for a revolutionary party. Within them is strength.

If you initially reader radically succeeded what would you have invented? Possibly the future cut and fragmented? How important might it be to consolidate power so your message, obviously right, could continue. At some point without self awareness or confession justify the means to the perfect end? Believe your knowledge superseded the people who no longer understood? Evolve into a tyranny before the word was ever mentioned?

Close this book my friend. You would be simply retreading history, believing what you were doing was the first time it was ever done. Your passion steamed through you unequaled by anything before. The present was your God, the future unexamined. The impatience of seeing the way towards light is a slow burn, unheeded in your fervor.

So, I returned to my country in every way the revolutionary hero. I joined the party in early adolescence. Forty faithful years committed to the dream. I was made head of a department. Met with number one whose poster hung on every wall. The photo of the great revolutionaries also hung included myself though there was no self. Reason only existed, made my decisions. Some had to die if their thoughts, actions, tastes, preferences, in any way showed any threat to the partys stability, the eventuality of the dreamed for world. Importance was meted out on the balance of a scale, my friend, that considered the parties mission. If reason were to be consulted-and it was-then it was the best overall for the people even though they could not see it. The uncountable number that must die-even my lover according to my own command-starve, be imprisoned, suffer the unspeakable agonies of torture were necessary sacrifices, obvious according to logic. They were not people, not individuals. Decisions were made according to the irrefutable plan based on irrefutable logic and reason. This is where all other revolutions failed. Ours was the only one set to last.

What happened my friend was our not calculating into the equation that future generations were to proceed us. They had not the intimate experience of what our revolution, what I, needed to fight against. Soon we original revolutionaries were considered old guard, decadent, of little use. But more so, and think about this now that you are reading this old miserable used copy of this book and I feel the crackle of the binding splitting all around me, that I and my colleagues, the way we thought, were now counter revolutionary thinkers. There was no room for us in the Party. We needed to be removed like the others so the party could go on. Our photo decked in proud uniforms was removed.

You should have bought a new copy. Have this message read and reread. It does not lighten with time. Time passed slowly as I paced my cell, six feet in one direction nine the other. The taste of fear darkened my tongue. Thoughts, thinking, distributed an @I@ through my weary weakened mind, body. You cannot know. A new copy would have been better. It became apparent even before my arrest that I doubted. How could I not. If there was any clarity, what we fought for vanished. The Party reeked of its need to consolidate and maintain its own power. The lies, rewriting of history, were built upon and reinforced in a dizzying circular motion, justifying every move. Now, and how was it to be done, I was to disavow everything I had lived my life for, everything I had so irrefutably believed. The progress which sat before us. Attached to that, to each of my steps of pacing the cell, were the people I sent for torture, the people I sent to death. My irrefutable wrongness with no way now for redemption. Even the woman I made love to so many times whose scent hung about me in this small cell.

A code of knocking against the common wall to the adjacent cell was known to all. But who to trust? The banal conversations did break the solitude at times. In the multitude of days passing there was even a semblance of a friendship. But it could all be a setup, a further testing.

I want to thank you now for reading more openly reader allowing me as a character to open further. Maybe we both are learning things we didnt know we knew.

When someone from our small corridor of cells was to be next to be tortured or executed word passed furiously through the walls. Messages of fear. Membership in an unspoken community. I participated. It felt as a necessity. When finally they were dragged down the hall, past the small eye hole where guards observed us, where we could see the small riveted space of the hall, all of us prisoners beat on our doors creating a dirge of protest, helpless incurable writhe. Every minute I waited for the guards to appear at my door, for it to be me. I began to write to make sense of it all. A few days further and I learned the next to be executed was a friend of mine. Not unlike you reader and your friend of years who you thought you would read this book for and now finding it a much different experience. I feel for you since it is so difficult, maybe painful for me to feel for myself. He was dragged by the arms head first his feet skimming behind. Blood oozed from open wounds. Salt-spit drooled from his mouth to the floor. As he passed my door he looked up, called out my name. Called out my name. His last words. They were never people I ordered to be exterminated. They were obstacles against reason and the future, statistics and numbers ordered into straight columns. They had not bodies, hair, eyes, a mouth filled with saliva and screams, something called a soul. My lover whose extermination I rightfully ordered thus too was dragged down a hallway bloodied and spewing? Whose skin I caressed and scent still hovered about me?

What have I done? But I did it for the party? You…you may not choose to read any more my friend. The book will last with some care. Maybe it is not for the best for you to read to the end. I am not sure it was good for either of us to come this far. Is it of use to understand that it is within each of our grasp?


مشاهده لینک اصلی
Before I read Darkness at Noon, I could never quite comprehend the source of the wretched servility and abject self-negation with which the Old Bolsheviks broadcast their guilt and apostasy in so convincing a manner at the Moscow Show Trials in the mid-thirties. Koestler—no stranger to dark, narrow prison cells and the exquisite torture of living minute to precious minute awaiting the stark drum roll of the executioners approaching footsteps—brings all of his harsh experience to this swiftly-moving, wrenching tale about how such self-accusatory enthusiasm comes to be engendered within a soul cracked by the relentless press of the interrogators logic and wracked by pain, both physical, mental, and spiritual.

Rubashov is Koestlers depiction of the remnant of the original Bolshevik inner circle, a companion of Stalin and devout believer in the justice and historical necessity of the Revolution and the Party. After Rubashov is arrested—by members of the younger cadre of acolytes being groomed, with ever fiercer devotion to the all-consuming Cause, to replace the rapidly expiring ranks of the old guard—he reflects upon the pricks to his own conscience when, as roaming plenipotentiary of the Party, he emotionlessly abandoned so many firm believers to their cruel fate at the hands of the Nazis after the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact made a realignment of priorities an urgent necessity. Placed in a cell next to that of a long-imprisoned aristocrat from the Red-White civil wars, Rubashov awaits his coming ordeal with the interrogator with the self-confidence of those who believe firmly in their innocence. However, under the steady pressure exerted by his interlocutors—one an old friend, the other a new believer—Rubashovs carefully constructed edifice begins to crumble; and as his every statement is turned and twisted into the straitening channels that the Party needs to complete its own narrative, a combination of sleep-deprivation, Party pressure, and his own newly awakened self-loathing lead Rubashov to the inexorable conclusion: he is guilty, for the Party needs him to be guilty, and long ago he gave himself, body and soul, to the Party.

Koestler marches his explicatory and cautionary tale along with the relentless urgency of a fired bullet, and he does a remarkable job of delineating the fully convincing arc of Rubashovs progression from self-assurance to self-denial to self-conviction. His initially awkward relationship with his aristocratic neighbor—carried on by a prison code tapped on the walls—deepens as time passes and the original Bolshevik comes to realize that, although the Whites comprised the first meal, the Party always comes to eat its own. The scene where the prisoners, via rapidly tapped and repeated code, line up at their doors to catch a glimpse of another Bolshevik martyr being lead down the blackened tunnel towards the staircase and an appointment with a bullet to the head, administered upon some random flagstone in the basement dungeon, is a stark palimpsest of terror and tension; and the reader knows that, before the last page has been turned, Rubashov will take part in the same grim ritual in which the charcoal nullity of underground shadows will be the penultimate parting gift bestowed by subservience to historical necessity.

Koestler was a man of many talents—and demons—who was to live through, and then warn against, the obfuscating glamours of the totalitarian impulse; and few other novels express the inevitable miscegenation of corruption and purity within the authoritarian party system—a union that spawns persecution and reduces believers to spiritually crippled, hollowed-out husks—as convincingly as Darkness at Noon.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
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