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The limits of genius 1

2nd March 2010 David Cesarani (March) arrives at an odd conclusion in his review of the Arthur Koestler biography: “Genius may excuse almost anything, but Koestler fails the test.” What exactly does he mean by this? That had Koestler merely slapped Jill Craigie around a bit, as opposed to raping her, his genius would have made such behaviour excusable? Surely Koestler’s literary and intellectual achievements have no bearing on the reprehensibility on his private life, just as his treatment of women doesn’t affect how important a novel Darkness at Noon is.

William Skidelsky London SE5

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