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And English disapproval of the Nazi outrages has also been an unreal thing, turned on and off like a tap according to political expediency.
In particular prisoner number 402 and Rubashov carry on conversations by using the "quadratic alphabet" (Darkness at Noon, p. During Rubashov's interaction with the other prisoners, Rubashov learns of how the prison system works and receives an understanding of the other prisoners' background.
Rubashov spends the majority of his prison time reminiscing about his own encounter with the Party, those who he influenced and those who he betrayed.
One striking fact about English literature during the present century is the extent to which it has been dominated by foreigners--for example, Conrad, Henry James, Shaw, Joyce, Yeats, Pound and Eliot.
Still, if you chose to make this a matter of national prestige and examine our achievement in the various branches of literature, you would find that England made a fairly good showing until you came to what may be roughly described as political writing, or pamphleteering.
Of the five books, the action of three takes place entirely or almost entirely in prison.
In the opening months of the Spanish civil war Koestler was the NEWS CHRONICLE'S correspondent in Spain, and early in 1937 he was taken prisoner when the Fascists captured Malaga.
I do not know how many books he has written in all.
He is a Hungarian whose earlier books were written in German, and five books have been published in England: SPANISH TESTAMENT, THE GLADIATORS, DARKNESS AT NOON, SCUM. The subject-matter of all of them is similar, and none of them ever escapes for more than a few pages from the atmosphere of nightmare.
Most of the European writers I mentioned above, and scores of others like them, have been obliged to break the law in order to engage in politics at all; some of them have thrown bombs and fought in street battles, many have been in prison or the concentration camp, or fled across frontiers with false names and forged passports.
One cannot imagine, say, Professor Laski indulging in activities of that kind.