Arthur Koestler

1905 (Budapest) – 1983 (London)

Koestler’s broad interests make him hard to categorise: his most influential work has a strong moral/political dimension. As a young man he struck Adorno as ‘shy, distraught, esoteric’. He met Eisler, Brecht and Huelsenbeck in Weimar Berlin, Hughes in Soviet Turkmenistan, and Auden during the Spanish Civil War. Correspondents included Gabor, Forster, Mann, Malraux and Spender. Orwell, József and Polanyi were friends. He took LSD with Leary, drank with Thomas, threw a glass at Sartre, gave Camus a black eye, and had a one-night-stand with de Beauvoir. Benjamin gave him half of his suicide pills, but they didn’t work.