Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Tuesday, December 29, 1998 Published at 14:11 GMT


Women force removal of Koestler bust

Jill Craigie, pictured with her husband Michael Foot, was one of Koestler's victims

A bust of the writer and philosopher Arthur Koestler has been removed from display at Edinburgh University after a recent biography claimed he had a history of sexually abusing women.

Several newspapers reported that female students at the university had complained about feeling "uneasy" under the gaze of the bronze bust after reading that Koestler had beaten and raped several women. Some women's groups had apparently threatened to deface it.

A spokesman for the university said it had been removed for security reasons.

The author of classic novels such as The Ghost in the Machine and Darkness at Noon died, aged 77, in a suicide pact with his wife in 1982.

'Serial rapist'

A biography by Professor David Cesarani which came out earlier this year claimed Koestler was a serial rapist but said his victims did not report it because he was such a respected figure.

Prof Cesarani wrote that rape was "almost a hallmark of his conduct".

The book claimed Jill Craigie, wife of the former Labour leader Michael Foot, was one of Koestler's victims. She has since confirmed the claim.

A spokesman for the Edinburgh University students' union said: "There was a feeling that he [Koestler] should not be there. One day the bust just vanished from the foyer."

Koestler bequeathed money in his will which has funded a chair of parapsychology at the university.

Laura Aitken, of Scottish Women's Aid, told The Times: "This is a man known to be serially abusive and violent towards women but the message was being put out that it was okay to glorify him in the halls of fame."

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |

UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Internet Links

Arthur Koestler (Freedom's Nest authors)

The Koestler Parapsychology Unit (Edinburgh University)

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online