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The American Isherwood

2014

James J. Berg and Chris Freeman, Editors

The American Isherwood

Shines a critical spotlight on the American life of the famed author

This collection of essays considers Christopher Isherwood’s diaries, his vast personal archive, and his published works, offering a multifaceted appreciation of a writer who spent more than half of his life in southern California. The editors have brought together the most informative scholarship of the twenty-first century to illuminate the craft of one of the singular figures of the twentieth century.

Novelist, memoirist, diarist, and gay pioneer Christopher Isherwood left a wealth of writings. Known for his crisp style and his camera-like precision with detail, Isherwood gained fame for his Berlin Stories, which served as source material for the hit stage musical and Academy Award–winning film Cabaret. More recently, his experiences and career in the United States have received increased attention. His novel A Single Man was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film; his long relationship with the artist Don Bachardy, with whom he shared an openly gay lifestyle, was the subject of an award-winning documentary, Chris & Don: A Love Story; and his memoir, Christopher and His Kind, was adapted for the BBC.

Isherwood’s colorful journeys took him from post–World War I England to Weimar Germany to European exile to Golden Age Hollywood to Los Angeles in the full flower of gay liberation. After the publication of his diaries, which run to more than one million words and span nearly a half century, it is possible to fully assess his influence. This collection of essays considers Isherwood’s diaries, his vast personal archive, and his published works and offers a multifaceted appreciation of a writer who spent more than half of his life in southern California. James J. Berg and Chris Freeman have brought together the most informative scholarship of the twenty-first century to illuminate the craft of one of the singular figures of the twentieth century. Isherwood, the American, emerges from the shadow of his English reputation to stake his claim as a significant force in late twentieth-century American culture—with a legacy that continues in the twenty-first century.

Contributors: Joshua Adair, Murray State U; Jamie Carr, Niagara U; Robert L. Caserio, Pennsylvania State U; Niladri Chatterjee, U of Kalyani, India; Lisa Colletta, American U of Rome; Lois Cucullu, U of Minnesota; Mario Faraone; Peter Edgerly Firchow; Rebecca Gordon Stewart; William R. Handley, U of Southern California; Jaime Harker, U of Mississippi; Sara S. Hodson, Huntington Library; Carola M. Kaplan, California State U, Pomona; Benjamin Kohlmann, U of Freiburg, Germany; Victor Marsh, U of Queensland; Tina Mascara; Stephen McCauley; Paul M. McNeil, Columbia U; Guido Santi, College of the Canyons, California; Kyle Stevens, Brandeis U.

The American Isherwood

James J. Berg is dean of arts and sciences at College of the Desert in Palm Desert, California. Chris Freeman teaches English and gender studies at the University of Southern California. They have edited several books on Christopher Isherwood, including Conversations with Christopher Isherwood and The Isherwood Century: Essays on the Life and Work of Christopher Isherwood, which won a Lambda Literary Award for Gay Studies.

The American Isherwood

Contents

Foreword: Outside the Frame
Stephen McCauley

Introduction: An American Outsider
James J. Berg and Chris Freeman

Part I. A Single Man and Los Angeles Culture in the 1960s
1. A Single Man and the American Maurice
Lois Cucullu
2. Labor of Love: Making Chris & Don
Tina Mascara and Guido Santi
3. Working through Grief in the Drafts of A Single Man
Carola M. Kaplan
4. Writing the Unspeakable in A Single Man and Mrs. Dalloway
Jamie Carr
5. A Whole without Transcendence: Isherwood, Woolf, and the Aesthetics of Connection
William R. Handley
6. Ford Does Isherwood
Kyle Stevens
7. A Real Diamond: The Multicultural World of A Single Man
James J. Berg and Chris Freeman

Part II. The Religious Writer
8. Isherwood and the Psycho-geography of Home
Victor Marsh
9. Isherwood and Huxley: The Novel as Mystic Fable
Robert L. Caserio
10. Down Where on a Visit?: Isherwood’s Mythology of Self
Rebecca Gordon Stewart
11. A Phone Call by the River
Paul M. McNeil
12. “Give me devotion . . . even against my will”: Christopher Isherwood and India
Niladri R. Chatterjee
13. Spiritual Searching in Isherwood’s Artistic Production
Mario Faraone

Part III. A Writer at Odds with Himself in Cold War America
14. Christopher Isherwood and Edward Upward
Benjamin Kohlmann
15. Huxley and Isherwood: The California Years
Peter Edgerly Firchow
16. The Celebrity Effect: Isherwood, Hollywood, and the Performance of Self
Lisa Colletta
17. A Writer at Work: The Isherwood Archive
Sara S. Hodson
18. Pulp Isherwood: Cheap Paperbacks and Queer Cold War Readers
Jaime Harker
19. Not Satisfied with the Ending: Connecting The World in the Evening to Maurice
Joshua Adair

Acknowledgments
Contributors
Index