Christopher and His Kind

      Christopher Isherwood
Christopher and His Kind

Originally published in 1976, Christopher and His Kind covers the most memorable ten years in the writer's life-from 1929, when Isherwood left England to spend a week in Berlin and decided to stay there indefinitely, to 1939, when he arrived in America. His friends and colleagues during this time included W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender, and E. M. Forster, as well as colorful figures he met in Germany and later fictionalized in his two Berlin novels-who appeared again, fictionalized to an even greater degree, in I Am a Camera and Cabaret.

What most impressed the first readers of this memoir, however, was the candor with which he describes his life in gay Berlin of the 1930s and his struggles to save his companion, a German man named Heinz, from the Nazis. An engrossing and dramatic story and a fascinating glimpse into a little-known world, Christopher and His Kind remains one of Isherwood's greatest achievements.

A major figure in twentieth-century fiction and the gay rights movement, Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986) is the author of Down There on a Visit, Lions and Shadows, A Meeting by the River, The Memorial, Prater Violet, A Single Man, and The World in the Evening, all available from the University of Minnesota Press.

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    My Guru and His Disciple

      Christopher Isherwood
My Guru and His Disciple

My Guru and His Disciple is a sweetly modest and honest portrait of Isherwood's spiritual instructor, Swami Prabhavananda, the Hindu priest who guided Isherwood for some thirty years. It is also a book about the often amusing and sometimes painful counterpoint between worldliness and holiness in Isherwood's own life. Sexual sprees, all-night drinking bouts, a fast car ride with Greta Garbo, scriptwriting conferences at M-G-M, intellectual sparring sessions with Berthold Brecht alternated with nights of fasting at the Vedanta Center, a six-month period of celibacy and sobriety, and the pious drudgery of translating (in collaboration with the Swami) the Bhagavad-Gita. Seldom has a single man been owed with such strong drives toward both sensuality and spirituality, abandon and discipline; out of the passionate dialectic between these drives, My Guru and His Disciple has been written.

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    A Meeting by the River

      Christopher Isherwood
A Meeting by the River

Two English brothers meet, after a long separation, in India. Oliver, the idealistic younger brother, prepares to take his final vows as a Hindu monk. Patrick, a successful publisher with a wife and children in London and a male lover in California, has publicly admired his brother's convictions while privately criticizing his choices.

First published in 1967, A Meeting by the River delicately depicts the complexity of sibling relationships -- the resentment and competitiveness as well as the love and respect. Ultimately, the brothers' exposure to each other's differences deepens their awareness of themselves. In A Meeting by the River, Christopher Isherwood dramatizes the conflict between sexuality and spirituality that inspired his late writings.

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    Prater Violet

      Christopher Isherwood
Prater Violet

Originally published in 1945, Prater Violet is a stingingly satirical novel about the film industry. It centers around the production of the vacuous fictional melodrama Prater Violet, set in nineteenth-century Vienna, providing ironic counterpoint to tragic events as Hitler annexes the real Vienna of the 1930s. The novel features the vivid portraits of imperious, passionate, and witty Austrian director Friedrich Bergmann and his disciple, a genial young screenwriter -- the fictionalized Christopher Isherwood.

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    The Berlin Stories

      Christopher Isherwood
The Berlin Stories

A classic of 20th-century fiction, The Berlin Stories inspired the Broadway musical and Oscar-winning film Cabaret.First published in the 1930s, The Berlin Stories contains two astonishing related novels, The Last of Mr. Norris and Goodbye to Berlin, which are recognized today as classics of modern fiction. Isherwood magnificently captures 1931 Berlin: charming, with its avenues and cafés; marvelously grotesque, with its nightlife and dreamers; dangerous, with its vice and intrigue; powerful and seedy, with its mobs and millionaires—this is the period when Hitler was beginning his move to power. The Berlin Stories is inhabited by a wealth of characters: the unforgettable Sally Bowles, whose misadventures in the demimonde were popularized on the American stage and screen by Julie Harris in I Am A Camera and Liza Minnelli in Cabaret; Mr. Norris, the improbable old debauchee mysteriously caught between the Nazis...

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    Lost Years: A Memoir 1945 - 1951

      Christopher Isherwood
Lost Years: A Memoir 1945 - 1951

The English writer Christopher Isherwood settled in California in 1939 and spent the war years working in Hollywood film studios, teaching English to European refugees, and converting to Hinduism. By the time the war ended, he realized he was not cut out to be a monk. With his self-imposed wartime vigil behind him, he careened into a life of frantic socializing, increasing dissipation, anxiety, and, eventually, despair.For nearly a half decade he all but ceased to write fiction and even abandoned his lifelong habit of keeping a diary.

This is Isherwood's own account, reconstructed from datebooks, letters, and memory nearly thirty years later, of his experience during those missing years: his activities in Santa Monica, and also in New York and London, just after the war.Begun in 1971, in a postsixties atmosphere of liberation, "Lost Years" includes explicit details of his romantic and sexual relationships during the 1940s and unveils a hidden and sometimes shocking way of life shared with friends and acquaintances--many of whom were well-known artists, actors, and film-makers. Not until the 1951 Broadway success of "I Am a Camera, " adapted from his Berlin stories, did Isherwood begin to reclaim control of his talents and of his future.

Isherwood never prepared "Lost years" for publication because he rapidly became caught up in writing the book that established him as a hero of gay liberation, "Christopher and His Kind."

With unpolished directness, and with insight and wit, "Lost Years" shows how Isherwood developed his private recollections into the unique mixture of personal mythology and social history that characterizes much of his best work. This surprising and important memoir also highlights his determination to track down even the most elusive and unappealing aspects of his past in order to understand and honestly portray himself, both as a writer and as a human being.

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    A Single Man

      Christopher Isherwood
A Single Man

Celebrated as a masterpiece from its first publication, A Single Man is the story of George, an English professor in suburban California left heartbroken after the death of his lover, Jim. With devastating clarity and humour, Christopher Isherwood shows George's determination to carry on, evoking the unexpected pleasures of life as well as the soul's ability to triumph over loneliness and alienation.

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    Liberation: Diaries:1970-1983

      Christopher Isherwood
Liberation: Diaries:1970-1983

Candid and revealing, the final volume of Christopher Isherwood's diaries brings together his thoughts on life, love, and death. Beginning in the period of his life when he wrote Kathleen and Frank, his first intensely personal book, Liberation: Diaries 1970–1983 intimately and wittily records Isherwood's immersion in the 1970s art scene in Los Angeles, New York, and London—a world peopled by the likes of Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, and David Hockney, as well as his Broadway writing career, which brought him in touch with John Huston, Merchant and Ivory, John Travolta, John Voight, Elton John, David Bowie, Joan Didion, and Armistead Maupin. With a preface by Edmund White, Liberation is a rich and engaging final memoir by one of the most celebrated writers of his generation.

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    The Sixties: Diaries:1960-1969

      Christopher Isherwood
The Sixties: Diaries:1960-1969

This second volume of Christopher Isherwood's remarkable diaries opens on his fifty-sixth birthday, as the fifties give way to the decade of social and sexual revolution. Isherwood takes the reader from the bohemian sunshine of Southern California to a London finally swinging free of post-war gloom, to the racy cosmopolitanism of New York and to the raw Australian outback. He charts his ongoing quest for spiritual certainty under the guidance of his Hindu guru, and he reveals in reckless detail the emotional drama of his love for the American painter Don Bachardy, thirty years his junior and struggling to establish his own artistic identity.

The diaries are crammed with wicked gossip and probing psychological insights about the cultural icons of the time—Francis Bacon, Richard Burton, Leslie Caron, Marianne Faithfull, David Hockney, Mick Jagger, Hope Lange, W. Somerset Maugham, John Osborne, Vanessa Redgrave, Tony Richardson, David O. Selznick, Igor Stravinsky, Gore Vidal, and many others. But the diaries are most revealing about Isherwood himself—his fiction (including A Single Man and Down There on a Visit), his film writing, his college teaching, and his affairs of the heart. He moves easily from Beckett to Brando, from arthritis to aggression, from Tennessee Williams to foot powder, from the opening of Cabaret on Broadway (which he skipped) to a close analysis of Gide.

In the background run references to the political and historical events of the period: the anxieties of the Cold War, Yuri Gagarin's spaceflight, de Gaulle and Algeria, the eruption of violence in America's inner cities, the Vietnam War, the Summer of Love, the moon landing, and the raising and lowering of hemlines. Isherwood is well known for his prophetic portraits of a morally bankrupt Europe on the eve of World War II; in this unparalleled chronicle, The Sixties, he turns his fearless eye on the decade that more than any other has shaped the way we live now.

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