"History had a slow pulse; man counted in years, history in generations": First American Editions of Arthur Koestler’s Classic Trilogy; including Darkness At Noon; Signed by Him

  • Gladiators; Darkness At Noon and Arrival and Departure.

Gladiators; Darkness At Noon and Arrival and Departure.


Item Number: 71020

New York: The Macmillan Company, 1939-1943.

First American editions of each work in Koestler’s acclaimed trilogy, including his masterpiece, Darkness at Noon. Octavo, original cloth. Darkness at Noon is signed by Arthur Koestler on the front free endpaper. Each volume is very good in a very good dust jackets with some rubbing and wear. First printings are rare signed.

Although there is no narrative connection between the books, Arthur Koestler declared his first three novels to be a thematic trilogy following the publication of the final installment, Arrival and Departure. Set in different eras, each novel explores the ethics and consequences of revolutionary politics and idealism, reflecting Koestler’s growing disillusionment with the political environment of mid-20th century Europe. Published in 1939, Koestler’s first novel, The Gladiators, used the portrayal of the slave uprising led by Thracian gladiator Spartacus in ancient Rome to examine the rise of communism in the Soviet Union. This book was followed by Koestler’s masterpiece, Darkness at Noon, the tale of an Old Bolshevik who is imprisoned and tried for treason by the very government he helped to create. Despite being based on real events, the novel does not directly refer to the Soviet government, Stalin, or Nazi Germany but uses generic descriptors such as “the Party”, “Number One”, and “the Dictatorship” respectively. The final book in the trilogy, Arrival and Departure, reflects Koestler’s own plight as a Hungarian refugee in the midst of the Second World War. Koestler’s contemporary, George Orwell, commended the book "for what must be one of the most shocking descriptions of Nazi terrorism that have ever been written."

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