Arthur Koestler’s America, Part I: Experiencing the Country and its Inhabitants

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Zénó Vernyik


This paper, the first part of a larger study, aims to provide an overview of Arthur Koestler’s personal experiences with American citizens, and with the country itself. Special attention is paid to the role of American fellow travelers on Koestler’s journeys to the North Pole and subsequently in Soviet Turkmenistan, as well to the longest of his three extended stays in the United States, starting in late 1950 and lasting until early 1952. Using the various autobiographies of Arthur Koestler, Cynthia Koestler and Langston Hughes, the published correspondence of Mamaine Koestler, Koestler’s unpublished diaries, as well as a whole range of critical biographies, the paper summarizes Koestler’s assessment of the country and its culture, and partially reconstructs the context of that assessment.


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Vernyik, Zénó. 2021. “Arthur Koestler’s America, Part I: Experiencing the Country and Its Inhabitants”. AMERICANA E-Journal of American Studies in Hungary 17 (1).
Author Biography

Zénó Vernyik

Zénó Vernyik is assistant professor and head of the English Department at the Technical University of Liberec. He holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from Masaryk University and a degree in English Studies from the University of Szeged. With his main research interest since 2012 being Arthur Koestler’s fiction, a topic on which he has published several articles, Vernyik is also the author of Cities of Saviors: Urban Space in E. E. Cummings’ Complete Poems, 1904–1962 and Peter Ackroyd’s Hawksmoor (Americana eBooks, 2015), the editor of Arthur Koestler’s Fiction and the Genre of the Novel: Rubashov and Beyond (Lexington Books, 2021), and co-editor of Crime and Detection in Contemporary Culture (Americana eBooks, 2018) and Words into Pictures: E. E. Cummings’ Art Across Borders (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007).