michael scammell

Michael Scammell is the author of Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth Century Skeptic and Solzhenitsyn, A Biography. He has translated books by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Nabokov into English and writes regularly about Russian and East European literature. 

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10 November 2015

Koestler's Near-miss in Hollywood

When I wrote and published my biography of Arthur Koestler, I was completely unaware that Koestler’s work had so narrowly failed to make it to the screen in Hollywood. I knew that soon after...

6 October 2015

Enough of this Mayakovskery?

Though I am more interested in prose than poetry, I seem to spend a lot of time writing about modern Russian and East European poetry (Pasternak, Milosz and Brodsky are relatively recent...

24 June 2015

"100 Biographies to Love"

Last Sunday (June 21) the Culture supplement of the London Sunday Times published a special feature with the self-explanatory title, "100 biographies to love," that included the two by myself,...

27 June 2014

The CIA and Pasternak

Long term suspicions that the CIA had a hand in publicizing Doctor Zhivago have just been confirmed in a new book, The Zhivago Affair (see my article on Pasternak for the NYRB of July 10 and my...

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Praise for Michael Scammell

Koestler himself seems so alive he might leap off the page.

Anne Applebaum, The New York Review of Books

A terrific biography... every page is enthralling.

Michael Dirda, Washington Post

Superb biography.

Paul Berman, The New Republic

A prodigy of research in many languages.

Louis Menand, The New Yorker

Tremendous, absorbing.

Neal Ascherson, London Review of Books


John Carey, The Sunday Times (UK)


Paul Monk, The Australian


The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic

The Indispensable Intellectual


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