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1. The Berlin Stories
2. Christopher and His Kind
3. The Sixties: Diaries:1960-1969
4. A Single Man
5. Down There on a Visit
6. Isherwood on Writing: The Lectures
7. Christopher Isherwood: His Era,
8. The World in the Evening
9. My Guru and His Disciple
10. How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms
11. Ramakrishna and His Disciples
12. Goodbye to Berlin. (Lernmaterialien)
13. Lions and Shadows: An Education
14. The Isherwood Century: Essays
15. I Am a Camera
16. Diaries: Volume 1, 1939-1960
17. Prater Violet
18. Wishing Tree Christopher Isherwood
19. Mr Isherwood Changes Trains: Christopher
20. Bhagavad-Gita: The Song of God

1. The Berlin Stories
by Christopher Isherwood
Paperback: 256 Pages (2008-09-17)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 081121804X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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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. Isherwoodmagnificently captures 1931 Berlin: charming, with its avenues andcafés; marvelously grotesque, with its nightlife and dreamers;dangerous, with its vice and intrigue; powerful and seedy, with itsmobs and millionaires—this is the period when Hitler was beginning hismove to power. The Berlin Stories is inhabited by a wealth ofcharacters: the unforgettable Sally Bowles, whose misadventures in thedemimonde were popularized on the American stage and screen by JulieHarris in I Am A Camera and Liza Minnelli in Cabaret;Mr. Norris, the improbable old debauchee mysteriously caught betweenthe Nazis and the Communists; plump Fräulein Schroeder, who thinks anoperation to reduce the scale of her Büste might relieve her heartpalpitations; and the distinguished and doomed Jewish family, theLandauers.Amazon.com Review
Christopher Isherwood was a diverse writer whoseaccomplishments included The MortmereStories (Edward Upward Series), A Single Manand a translation of TheSong of God (Bhagavad Gita). But many critics hailed TheBerlin Stories, the reissue of two of his best novels, as hisfinest. In the book, a man named Christopher Isherwood, who is and isnot the author, writes a story of exile, combining the best ofIsherwood's real life with the best of the life he imagined. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (29)

1-0 out of 5 stars Terrible Publication Error!!!
This review has nothing to do with wonderful written parts of the book. Instead it has all to do with the printed book itself. I have received two different copies of the same edition printed by New Directions Publications Corp. in 2008 and sold here at Amazon. Both of these copies, which I have since returned, have pages 176 and 177 from the first story, The Last of Mr. Norris, duplicated in the second story, A Goodbye to Berlin. I tried to contact the publisher about the problem but received no answer from the two emails I sent to them. So if you don't mind missing the information on these two pages, which I believe would actually have explained something that isn't to be found out later on, go ahead and order this missprinted copy of the book. But remember you've been WARNED!

4-0 out of 5 stars Life is a cabaret ,sometimes
Christopher Isherwood lived in Berlin from 1929 to 1933 as an English teacher. This book fictionalizes his diaries. He calls himself William Bradshaw, which seem to be his middle names, and in the other half of the book he is Isherwood, or Mr. Issyvoo or Chris or Darling. He says in his 1954 foreword that he had planned to write a Balzaquian novel, but found himself not up to it. What he did instead has been published as The Berlin Stories. The result is charming and mostly satisfactory. I just wish this edition were on par with CI's writing: it abounds with printing errors (worst being the repetition of two pages instead of the new pages that should be there), and it provides no list of contents, which is annoying.
Here I give you a list of contents, without page numbers:
Half of the book is called: The Last of Mr.Norris. This part has 16 chapters and could be seen as a separate novel.
The other half is called: Goodbye to Berlin. This consists of the following parts:
A Berlin Diary (1930)
Sally Bowles
On Ruegen Island
The Nowaks
The Landauers
A Berlin Diary (1932-33)

Friends of the film Cabaret will recognize the story `Sally Bowles' as the core of the Broadway play, which became a musical and the basis for the film (which is lovable). (Or was it a musical from the start? Not sure.) The initial stage Sally was, by the way, Julie Harris. Isherwood gives her highest praise in the foreword. (How could you stay the same, Sally, when I aged 20 years? Which, come to think of it, is not all that much of a compliment for Julie Harris, considering the description of Sally that we get in the book.)
Don't think that the book Sally is Liza Minelli. She is much less of an accomplished performer than in the film.
If you watched the movie before reading the book, you will find that characters and themes have been re-combined, and that the story has been changed quite a lot. I think it has been improved.

This edition has an introduction which claims that the book is something like a landmark for gay writing. That may be so, but it would be wrong to expect a political manifest for gay rights. Berlin was and is a center of all kinds of things. Many gays did and do move there, like Isherwood did. His allusions to his gayness are not exactly hidden, but also not written large. Several times he mentions the presence of `boys', leaving little doubt, but explaining nothing. He ridicules a `fairy', the baron, but is mum about his own tendencies. Fair enough. He is much more explicit about the SM habits of eccentric Mr. Norris, probably because that is a) ridiculous, and b) not his own problem.

As for the structure of the combined book, I would have kept the Norris part much shorter. The man is a curious freak, but his domination of half of the book gives him more weight than he deserves.
CI's main theme is people on the fringe: freaks and eccentrics from various subcultures, or outsiders in another sense, like the wealthy Jewish family. He is politically aware, and describes the troubles times, with poverty and street fighting between communists and Nazis, though they don't seem to concern him personally. Norris, essentially a con man, has some opportunistic involvements with communists, which are narrated like all the other exotic events: observations from outer space. That makes much sense, as Isherwood/Bradshaw is from England.

There is one communist event in 1931 where Norris turns up as a speaker about British imperialism in East Asia, while most of the other speakers are addressing Japanese atrocities in China. As far as I know, those started only in the mid 30s, not earlier, so we have an anachronism of the kind that annoys me. Unless something happened in 1930 that I am not aware of, possibly related to the former German colony in Qingdao, now Shandong province, which the Versailles Contract, in the smartness of the allied victors, awarded to Japan rather than returning it to China.

All in all I liked the film better. At 400 pages in total, the book has some lengths that the film never has. The explicitly bi-sexual orientation of the Michael York character is more convincing than the strangely neutral narrator Bradshaw/Issyvoo.
I would give 3.5 stars, deducting for the flaws in the edition and the weaknesses of the book itself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Actually two novels
The Berlin Stories are actually two novels (The Last of Mr. Norris and Goodbye to Berlin) about an expatriate Brit living in pre-World War II Berlin. Goodbye to Berlin became the basis for the 1972 musical Cabaret.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic stories....but it's missing two pages
I am not sure if anyone else posted this, but in "The Landauers," pages 176-177, you will find pages 176-177 of"The Last of Mrs. Norris" (I am referring to the 2008 edition published by Literary Bent with the 2 shadows on the cover).
You can retrieve the pages by going to google books and searching for:
The Berlin Stories: The Last of Mr. Norris [and] Goodbye to Berlin

2-0 out of 5 stars The book speaks for itself, but LOOK FOR AN ERRATA SHEET!!!
I am an Amazon reviewer who focuses on pointing out the utilitarian flaws or benefits of a given product; if you are looking for literary criticism, then this review will disappoint.My review, however, is critical if you want to make sure you have a complete copy of 'The Berlin Stories.'If you order the item, check to see if an errata sheet is included anywhere in the book.It's the size of a single sheet of paper slighly larger than the book and will be loosely inserted somewhere in the text.IF THIS SHEET IS NOT INCLUDED, THEN YOU DO NOT HAVE A COMPLETE COPY OF THE BOOK!The printer made an error at page ninety-six (96) of "The Last of Mr. Norris" and, as a result, the story loses both continuity and completeness.

This review refers exclusively to the copy of 'Berlin Stories' with the "double shadow" cover and an ISBN of 9-780811-218047; I do not know whether the same error was made in previous editions. ... Read more

2. Christopher and His Kind
by Christopher Isherwood
Paperback: 352 Pages (2001-10)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$11.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0816638632
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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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. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

2-0 out of 5 stars There is only one sin: disobedience to the inner law of our own nature
C. Isherwood's autobiography contains comments on his own books (with inside information on the models he used for his protagonists) and on brief encounters with well-known public figures (Magnus Hirschfeld, Conrad Veidt, Erika and Klaus Mann, Therese Giehse, E.M. Forster, the Lehmann family). But, his book turns mostly around his friends, W.H. Auden, S. Spender, `Francis') and the voyages he makes with them, or alone.

General evaluation
All in all, it is not more than a superficial and sometimes boring personal agenda written within the two world wars about the German political situation (`Yesterday, Hitler denounced the Treaty of Locarno and sent troops into the Rhine Zone. We went to the Casino and gambled for a couple of hours.') and about the Berlin gay scene with very rare intimate outbursts.

The gay scene (aggression)
(There was) `aggression against those who had never had syphilis. He appeared to feel that it was their self-righteousness and cowardice which had prevented them from having it, and that they therefore ought to have it, for the good of their soul ... he even imagined himself tricking such people into going to bed with infected partners.'

Berlin, its gay scene
Amid `the brew seethed with unemployment, malnutrition, stock-market panic, hatred of the Versailles Treaty... On September 20, the Nazis won 107 seats.' `To Christopher, Berlin meant Boys... Male prostitutes coming to the bars to get money.'

Personal outbursts
`Why do I prefer boys? Because of their shape and their voices and their smell and the way they move. And boys can be romantic. I can put them into my myth ... My will is to live according to my nature, and to find a place where I can be what I am.'
`Christopher was suffering from an inhibition, then not unusual among upper-class homosexuals; he couldn't relax sexually with a member of his own class or nation. He needed a working-class foreigner.'

Overall mentality (the players)
`You know, it just doesn't mean anything to me any more - the Popular Front, the party line, the anti-Fascist struggle.' `They had been playing parts, repeating slogans created for them by others.'
`1938, Christopher declared that England had helped betray the Czechs. He meant it. Yet his dead-secret, basic reaction was: What do I care for the Czechs? What does it matter if we are traitors? A war has been postponed - and a war postponed is a war which may never happen.'

This book is only for insiders and Christopher Isherwood fans.

3-0 out of 5 stars Getting to know all about this very good author, some of his questionable choices, and his name-dropping
At the December 2007 meeting of the NYC LGBT Center book discussion group, we read and discussed "Christopher and His Kind" by Christopher Isherwood. We had a small group who was mixed on this memoir.

While many of us found much of the writing very exact and extremely satisfying at times, many also found it to go on and on and on at other times. We also thought that many of his characters were well drawn, but as a name-dropper, Isherwood also includes many people we never get to know, because all that's important is that they knew Christopher. One of the central characters, Christopher's very young and long-term companion, Heinz, seemed less clear, and Christopher's allowing him to return to Nazi Germany seemed less momentous than expected, especially considering their time together and the expense Christopher's family indulged toward getting him a visa.

The choice to alternate between the third-person "Christopher said or did this..." and the first-person "I now believe that I was wrong..." was irritating at times. But having raised all these questions, the final chapter is a fantastic summation of his life and the works, and his reach into the future.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic Literary Memoir
I've just finished reading Christopher Isherwood's beautiful little memoir of the years 1929 to 1939, Christopher and His Kind. The personalities that Isherwood surrounded himself with, both little and well-known, provide much of the book's content. Isherwood, with wonderful candor, discusses his meetings and relationships with such luminaries as E.M. Forster, Stephen Spender, W.H. Auden and Rosamond Lehmann. The lesser-known figures, such as the dazzling aesthete Brian Howard, and Gerald Hamilton, a sort of shady internationalist and editor, are just as fascinating. Possessing a gift for anecdote and a deeply sympathetic personality, Isherwood's renderings of his contemporaries are a joy to read and always ring true. The book has occasionally dark themes, especially those surrounding the political milieu of the time and the rising tensions in Europe. As we relive Isherwood's life during these years, we share his sense of impending doom. Isherwood's lover, Heinz, is actually arrested and imprisoned by the Gestapo and was later forced to fight on the Russian front (an experience which he miraculously survived). Isherwood's treatment of homosexuality is matter-of-fact; he never seems to have felt guilt or pain over it, but rather early on in his life felt that it was sort of a personal game for he and his friends. During the course of the book, however, he is forced to develop an increasing consciousness of being a member of an unwieldy 'tribe' of gays that extends far beyond his small personal world. At first, it seems like Isherwood is going to write in the third person, but he continually lapses back and forth between the first and the third, an effect which is slightly bewildering but doesn't really effect the book negatively. Christopher and His Kind provides a near perfect picture of literary and gay life of the Europe of the thirties.

5-0 out of 5 stars How kind of Isherwood
To reveal a more candid portrait of his life between 1929 and 1939.

Christopher and His Kind explores the real story behind his travels back and forth from England to Germany, and the people and events that influenced his life during this decade of time.

Having first read 'Down there on a Visit', which draws experiences and people from this time in his life as it's foundation, it was amusing to read the 'real' story behind certain characters and situations described in the former novel.

Isherwood is far more frank about his homosexuality, and his encounters with other males, in this book, which can also be attributed to the time period in which this was written, being the 1970's, which definitely saw a more liberal attitude emerging than in the 50's, and 60's.But at the same time, he never seems 'graphic' or overindulgent in his descriptiveness. A sense of propriety and discretion carries throughout.

The only off-putting aspect of this novel to me, which lists many of Isherwoods contemporaries and friends, including Wystan Auden, E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley, and more, is that Isherwood in many, many instances refers to himself in the third person, as Christopher, and then immediately switches to first person, 'me'....which is a bit confusing. It reminded me of another book by an 'autobiographical' author, Edmund White (The Married Man) in which White switches from his usual first-person narrative to a third person narrative, leaving me with the impression that he found himself unable to record the events described as anything but an outsider, or observer. I wonder if perhaps the same is true with Isherwood?

Regardless, this book delves deep into his travels, and interactions with his friends and family. Also described are his days with a long-term love and travel companion, and the lengths Isherwood went to for this young man. The book hints at much more to come with the ending words, which is by far my favorite 'line' out of the four Isherwood works I have read...knowing what he is refering to....but I won't give it away.

An excellent read, and entertaining to any fan of this gifted author, to know more about his life and times.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of a Kind
This book is one of a kind....brilliant, great, adventurous, a classic.Words do not describe it.Isherwood lays evertything on the table.He shows all his cards.This is one of the most exciting books I've ever read.I'm a college student and I skipped all of the ten thousand other books I have to read in order to read this one.It was not a waste of time.Once you get into this book it's a blast.The best part is following Isherwood across Europe.If you want the definitive feeling about the Modern Era read this book.You will get to know such characters as EM Forster, W.H. Auden, and Virginia Woolfe.....Gee, ever heard of them?This is the last great classic Isherwood wrote.I was so entranced by the words that I stayed up all night to finnish it.It's defintiely on my all time favorite list. ... Read more

3. The Sixties: Diaries:1960-1969
by Christopher Isherwood
Hardcover: 800 Pages (2010-12-01)
list price: US$39.99 -- used & new: US$26.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006118019X
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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.

... Read more

4. A Single Man
by Christopher Isherwood
Paperback: 186 Pages (2001-04)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$8.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0816638624
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The author's favorite of his own novels, now back in print!

When A Single Man was originally published, it shocked many by its frank, sympathetic, and moving portrayal of a gay man in midlife. George, the protagonist, is adjusting to life on his own after the sudden death of his partner, and determines to persist in the routines of his daily life; the course of A Single Man spans twenty-four hours in an ordinary day. An Englishman and a professor living in suburban Southern California, he is an outsider in every way, and his internal reflections and interactions with others reveal a man who loves being alive despite everyday injustices and loneliness. Wry, suddenly manic, constantly funny, surprisingly sad, this novel catches the texture of life itself.

"A testimony to Isherwood's undiminished brilliance as a novelist." Anthony Burgess

"An absolutely devastating, unnerving, brilliant book." Stephen Spender

"Just as his Prater Violet is the best novel I know about the movies, Isherwood's A Single Man, published in 1964, is one of the first and best novels of the modern gay liberation movement." Edmund White ... Read more

Customer Reviews (45)

5-0 out of 5 stars great read!
A great read, had trouble putting it down. It's the type of book where the story line is good and you want to keep reading it to see where it goes. But at the same time you don't want to rush it because the prose is so well written and has great insight also. You want to savor the each paragraph.

I finished this one too quickly, wish there was more!

Interesting film adaptation. There are some significant differences in the movie. Won't say more, but I'm not sure why they added things in the movie that were not in the book at all.

3-0 out of 5 stars An Important, but Poorly Executed Novel
Of course, I read this book with deep interest and profound curiosity.And, like many on here I suspect, I was led to this book by Tom Ford's film (which attracted me not because it explored gay themes, but because of the Mr. Ford's fashion sense).I thought the film was excellent, and Mr. Ford's use of color throughout the film to highlight important spiritual moments was very well done.

But, like many on here have already pointed out, the book is very different from the movie, often in very dramatic ways.The George we see in the film is very different from the George of the novel.I liked Mr. Ford's George much better (and I sense that it is, much like Isherwood's George, partly autobiographical).For one thing, the George in the novel groups people into two --- and only two! --- categries:allies and enemies.He is of course referring to his homosexuality, but I found this attitude somewhat off-putting; and I do appreciate that it is partly a reflection of the public attitude toward homosexuality in the 1960's, but I just didn't take to it very well.

And I didn't like the stream of consciousness prose style at all either.For example, in one scene where George is driving, we spend several pages listening to how George would like to destroy a hotel building.I thought this was rather dull.But in other respects, George makes some very important observations.I liked his thoughts about his students at the university.He says something like they look as if they are ready at any moment to switch from studying to ditch-digging!He makes other great observations about heterosexual couples and American intellectual pretensions.So those parts were great.

But in the end, the book didn't capture me in the way Tom Ford's film did.The major difference, for me, was this:In the book it doesn't appear that George is consumed by the loss of his partner Jim like the way he is in the film.I suppose I was looking for that same theme in the book, which, I understand, is unfair, but that is just the way I approached, and responded, to the book.

3-0 out of 5 stars a quiet and subtle page turner
From the back of the book: "In this brilliantly perceptive novel, a middle-aged professor living in California is alienated from his students by differences in age and nationality, and from the rest of society by his homosexuality. Isherwood explores the depths of the human soul and its ability to triumph over loneliness, alienation, and loss."

As you can perhaps tell from the plot summary, this book doesn't have a plot. It is actually not my kind of book at all, and yet despite my misgivings I found myself enjoying the story more than expected.

A Single Man is the recounting of one day in George the professor's life, literally from the moment he wakes up to when he goes back to bed. It's slice of life fiction, the snapshot of time. George is in an unusual situation: his longterm partner Jim has recently passed away and he is in a society where being gay is seen at best as an oddity.

George's only recourse to his bereavement is to keep on going as he always has, and find a safety net in that routine. As such the book very much focuses on the mundane details of George's day to day life -- his walk to university, lecturing the students, the small interactions he has with people.... And I think that's a strength of the book. The story is a very intimate portrayal of grief and loneliness, and how these emotions can touch even the smallest things.

The writing is sparse, succinct, and most of all very honest; we get to see George, warts and all. And yet there is a distance, too -- George is still numb, and being an intellectual he views things often dispassionately. The end result is a touching and dark portrayal of the human condition which reaches out even to the modern reader with its fumbling attempts to create relationships in order to give some meaning to existence.

In sum, it's a stark narrative, but a quiet and subtle page turner. George feels like he could be your next door neighbour, your friend, or even you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amateur Critique
Like many great books, Single Man comes together at the end, and is best in retrospect. I put the book down at one point. I was bored when he was in his office, and then picked it up again a week later, and was magically transported, like in the beginning. It helps to resemble the lead, at least in some ways, as his humor is dry and middle age (great), and this is Southern California, and America, before all the protest. I think I'll read it again...

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
So I purchased this book after seeing the movie and have to say that this is one of the few instances when the film is actually better than the novel.Don't get me wrong, I liked the book and the elements included there in that did not make their way onto the screen, but reading it really highlighted the great work that Ford et.al. did on the film. ... Read more

5. Down There on a Visit
by Christopher Isherwood
Paperback: 250 Pages (1999-02)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$11.05
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0816633673
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great writing, odd choices
A great bit of writing- I will definitely track down some of Isherwood's other novels, especially his Berlin stories.In some ways this book resembles a fast forward version of Anthony Powell's Dance to the Music of Time (though most of Isherwood takes place outside of Britain)- he describes interesting, often eccentric characters in his life from the 1930s to 1950s and reveals their evolution, sometimes from wild to sane and a bit dull (Waldemar) to thoroughly insane and tragic (Paul).Isherwood observes the people around him and stays aloof, but often makes some incomprehensible decisions to get deeply involved with the most troubled characters- for instance I never did understand why he gave all that money to Paul, who was a sad guy, but a complete loser who was never going to give Isherwood anything more than he gave any of his other johns- yet Isherwood never seems to acknowledge his own dysfunction or what he learned about himself from the experience.This made the book a little hard to relate to at times.Anyway, read it for the great writing and character sketches, and if you like it, read Anthony Powell.

5-0 out of 5 stars If we took a holiday.....
When I was fortunate enough to find several Christopher Isherwood hardcovers in a used book store shelf-clearing sale, I thought that perhaps 'Down There' would be one of the last that I read, due to it being a four-part 'novel' where the stories have the common thread of the protagonist being narrator. I have never been a great fan of what I deem 'short stories'.

However, there are far more threads to weave the tales together of this fine example of why Isherwood was one of the most highly regarded authors of his time, and why his works endure to this day.

An observation of various stages in his own life, the 'narrator' at times seems an entirely autonomous character from the protagonist, as his wisdom, experience, and reflection are so evident in the way he describes four important chapters in his life.The youth becomes the adult, the adult becomes the observer, and the observer becomes the chronicler in this caring, thoughtful memoir.

Isherwood's four observances begin with 'Mr. Lancaster'...a portrait of an encounter with a gruff, abrasive man who Chris visits, reluctantly..and teaches him that appearances are not all that they might seem.

'Ambrose,' the second section, concerns a summer in the Greek Isles as Chris finds freedom to express his hidden desires while basking in the warm sun, and living in the near seclusion of an island setting with little distractions, but plenty of experiences to shape his young adulthood.

'Waldemar,' the third novella, follows Christopher's adventures in Germany, as he immerses himself into a foreign culture, and finds that some experiences, some people, some situations are universal, no matter where you roam, and sometimes the masks we wear, daily, are all too similar, no matter what the circumstances.

'Paul,' the culmination of the work, follows Christopher's encounters with a seemingly rootless, care-free acquaintance as he floats from experience to experience, and then asks to share in Christopher's Hindu teachings, before enlisting in the service. Christophers finds himself in a more care-taking role at this stage of his life, as he bails Paul out of situation after situation, and learns how to be a true friend, without expectations, without thought of self, and therefore without, many disappointments that can come with those who occasionally let us down in our lives.

An excellent read, cover to cover, 'Down There' is as fine a work as any other Isherwood offerings, and certainly one to explore for any fan of his works.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Isherwood's Best
After A Single Man, this is my favorite Isherwood book. The four stories interconnect in several fascinating ways. They say a lot about the passage of time, about European history and Isherwood's personal history. They alsosay plenty about various forms of detachment. In fact, "Variations onDetachment" could be the book's sub-title. Isherwood has a way ofgently underscoring the precariousness of being gay during a morerepressive time in Western culture. "Mr. Lancaster" and"Paul" were the most moving sections in this regard. Throughout,Isherwood writes in clear, clean prose. It may sound like I'm reaching fora simile but as I was reading this book, I felt like I was drinking freshspring water. ... Read more

6. Isherwood on Writing: The Lectures in California
by Christopher Isherwood
Hardcover: 208 Pages (2007-12-28)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$17.70
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Asin: 0816646937
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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In the 1960s, Christopher Isherwood gave an unprecedented series of lectures at California universities on the theme “A Writer and His World.” During this time Isherwood, who would liberate the memoir and become the founding father of modern gay writing, spoke openly for the first time about his craft—on writing for film, theater, and novels—and on spirituality. Isherwood on Writing brings these public addresses together to reveal a distinctly—and surprisingly—American Isherwood.


Given at a critical time in Isherwood’s career, these lectures mark the era when he turned from fiction to memoir. In free-flowing, wide-ranging discussions, he reflects on such topics as why writers write, what makes a novel great, and what influenced his own work. Isherwood talks about his working relationship with W. H. Auden; his literary friendships with E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Stephen Spender, Aldous Huxley, and Somerset Maugham; and his work in the film industry in London and Hollywood. He also explores uncharted territory in candid comments on his own work, something not contained in his diaries.


Isherwood on Writing uncovers an important and often-misunderstood time in Isherwood’s life in America. The lectures present, in James J. Berg’s words, “an example of a man, comfortable in his own sexuality and self, trying to talk about himself and his own life in a society that is not yet ready to hear the whole story.”


A major figure in twentieth-century fiction and the gay rights movement, Christopher Isherwood (1904–1986) is the author of many books, including A Single Man and Down There on a Visit, available from Minnesota.


James J. Berg is dean of liberal arts and sciences at Lake Superior College in Duluth, Minnesota. He is editor, with Chris Freeman, of The Isherwood Century: Essays on the Life and Work of Christopher Isherwood (winner of the Lambda Award) and Conversations with Christopher Isherwood.


Claude Summers is professor emeritus of English at the University of Michigan, Dearborn and author of many works, including Gay Fictions: Wilde to Stonewall.

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Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent
Especially wonderful is Berg's introduction which has led me on to even more reading materials about gay writers.Have ordered several books he has talked about.Also great are the lectuers themselves giving more and more insight into Isherwood's way of thinking and writing.Excellent reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars A pioneer for openly homosexual writers
A pioneer for openly homosexual writers, Christopher Isherwood was known for more than just being a gay author - he was a master of his craft who didn't let that label control everything he did. Writing novels alongside for film and theater, Christopher Isherwood was one of the better writers of the 20th century and now in "Isherwood on Writing" we now hear from the man himself as he discusses his craft and the life and times of his heyday in London and Hollywood and literary friendships with other great authors such as Virginia Woolf and Aldous Huxley. Despite all the notes that may suggest otherwise, Isherwood comes out as profoundly American, making "Isherwood on Writing" highly recommended for both academic and community library biography, literary studies, and gay studies reference collections.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch

5-0 out of 5 stars Isherwood on Writing is a moving and memorable book that provides a wonderful resource for writers and readers
Christopher Isherwood is considered a major Anglo-American novelist. He was a pioneer in the gay liberation movement and the founding father of modern gay writing. In the late 1950s and early 1960s Isherwood presented a series of lectures at various California universities on the theme "A Writer and His World." In this series of lectures Isherwood for the first time commented openly about his craft-on writing for films, theatre, novels and spirituality.James J. Berg, dean of social sciences and arts at the College of the Desert in Palm Springs, California has now assembled in Isherwood on Writing these lectures. Dean Berg has also included a forward by Professor Emeritus Claude J. Summers of English at the University of Michigan, Dearborn.

According to Summers, reading these lectures after fifty years of their delivery "is to observe an accomplished and versatile artist in the process of evolving. It is also to feel-acutely-through their reticences and euphemisms-the constraints he felt then at speaking openly about homosexuality even at liberal universities before congenial audiences." What is noteworthy about these lectures is that they offer to the reader an invaluable peek into a caring writer's literary approach and theories at a critical era of his life, a time when he was rethinking his career.

Beginning with this very interesting Foreword, Berg presents a comprehensive introduction where he introduces us to Isherwood with an overview of his intentions and methods for the lectures. It is also pointed out that the book collects for the first time transcripts, edited and annotated, from the three lecture series that were given at Berkley in 1963 as well as previous lectures in 1960 at the University of California, Santa Barbara and subsequently at the University of California, Los Angeles. Berg also informs his readers that the introduction explores the various issues he encountered while putting together the book.

Among some of the issues explored deal with the fact that although the American period of Isherwood's life is well documented in his diaries, there still exists many misconceptions about his work and experiences in the United States. We are also apprised of the fact that when Isherwood began lecturing publicly he was not shy about proclaiming his personal views such as loyalty oaths in Santa Barbara in 1960, although his employment the previous year was predicated on his signing a loyalty oath for L.A. State College. In another section we read about Reading the American Isherwood where it is shown that his literary reputation is far from settled.

After this wide-ranging introduction, Berg then goes onto divide the book into three parts that deal with a writer and his world, 1960, an autobiography of Isherwood`s books, 1963-65, and Isherwood`s lecture with his notes pertaining to such subject matters as influences on writing, why write at all, what is the nerve of interest in the novel, writers and the theatre, writers and films, writers and religion, writers of the thirties, the novel as an experience, voices of novelists and dramatists in the modern era, what is a novel and the novel and the novelist.

A sampling of one of Isherwood`s challenging lectures finds him throwing out the question what does it mean to write and what is it all about? According to Isherwood, he wrote in order to find out what his life meant and who he was, as well as finding out if there's meaning in the external world. And as he continues, if there isn't any meaning, he imposes a meaning of his own. To quote Isherwood: "You have this material, this thing is passing by, what does it all mean? Who are these people? Why am I here? What is it all about? And so you grasp at this thing and try to understand it."
In another lecture Isherwood examines the nerve of the interest in a novel. He asks what makes a novel vital alive good great? Throughout the lectures Isherwood describes his writing relationships with W.H. Auden, E.M Forster, Virginia Woolf, Stephen Spender, Aldous Huxley, and Somerset Maugham. He also refers to his experiences in the film industry in London and Hollywood.

Isherwood on Writing is a moving and memorable book that provides a wonderful resource for writers and readers as it powerfully covers the world of the writer and in particular a major figure in twentieth-century fiction and the gay rights movement.

Norm Goldman, Publisher & Editor Bookpleasures

... Read more

7. Christopher Isherwood: His Era, His Gang, and the Legacy of the Truly Strong Man
by David Garrett Izzo
Hardcover: 256 Pages (2001-06)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$28.70
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Asin: 1570034036
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8. The World in the Evening
by Christopher Isherwood
 Paperback: 312 Pages (1999-11-01)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$8.00
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Asin: 0816633703
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Nowhere to Run
For a long while I have had an interest in one day reading the works of Christopher Isherwood. While performing in 'Cabaret', which stems from Isherwood's famed 'Berlin Stories', I learned that the author had several works available, and he became one of my 'someday' reads.

Someday finally arrived recently, with a wonderful read in the form of 'The World in the Evening'.The book explores the life of a troubled man before and during the WWII years.

Stephen Monk, raised by a family friend, his 'Aunt' Sarah, runs from his life in California after discovering the infidelity of his second wife, Jane. Finding little to no 'solace' there he prepares to leave, when an accident of sorts leaves him housebound for several weeks.

Stephen is then forced to confront his past, and present, and contemplate his future, when he is figuratively and literally left unable to run from them any longer.

Examining the events that led to his marriage to his first wife, the novelist Elizabeth Rydal, Stephen relives, through a series of her letters to her friend Mary Scriven, their meeting, falling in love, and Elizabeth's ultimate demise. This unveiling of their life together encompasses much of the rest of the book.

But along the way, many surprises await in the form of revelations about Stephen himself. Was his 'accident' really that? What leads people to question the 'validity' of his marriage to Elizabeth? And how long can a person run from the truth before it eventually overtakes them?

The novel is peppered with many lively and entertaining characters; Aunt Sarah, the sage, benevolent voice of reason; Gerda, grieving wife of a missing soldier; Bob Wood and Charles Kennedy; a 1950's style gay couple; the two wives of Stephen Monk; and all the folks they meet along the way.

Jumping back and forth from past to present, the book is an excellent study of a man faced with finding himself, of the intricacies of making a marriage work, and of attitudes and actions regarding the treatment of homosexuals in the 1950's.

An excellent starting point for any newcomer to Isherwood, this novel at once charms and endears.

5-0 out of 5 stars Giving life & self a chance
"The World in the Evening" is the story of Stephen Monk in the years before and during World War II. After his second marriage implodes, he retreats to his former home, a Quaker town in Pennsylvania, where he is forced to reflect on the whole of his life: his first marriage, his affairs, his inability to emote truthfully. Years ago, Stephen & his first wife travelled to the Canary Islands, where Stephen had an affair with a young man. After that ended in disaster, his first wife died, leaving Stephen confused and adrift. In the Quaker town, with family, and with friends in the form of a gay couple and a German refugee, Stephenconfronts himself and ultimately finds inner peace. Isherwood's magnificent novel is as captivating and moving as it is beatifully written. The way the story ends is so full of hope and beauty that it will leave the reader feeling the same as Stephen. ... Read more

9. My Guru and His Disciple
by Christopher Isherwood
Paperback: 352 Pages (2001-10)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$11.91
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Asin: 0816638640
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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"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, script-writing conferences at M-G-M, and intellectual sparring sessions with Bertolt Brecht alternated with nights of fasting at the Vedanta Center and a six-month period of celibacy and sobriety. Seldom has a single man been endowed with such strong drives toward both sensuality and spirituality, abandon and discipline. . . . In these pages, Isherwood has reinvented the spirit of devotion for the modern reader."Edmund White, New York Times Book Review

"This book is a humbling tribute to someone who revealed to Isherwood inner grounds for spiritual awareness." Alan Hollinghurst, New Statesman

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. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
This book is a superb honest portrait of Isherwood's Guru, Swami Prabhavananda and the former's major character flaws. Basically, the author admits to his Guru that he is a homosexual and therefore not fit to be in the spiritual path. However, the Swami beautifully reassures Isherwood that this is NOT a flaw as Christopher is very sincere about his spiritual practices and his relationship with God is deep. This has profound implications.

The main reason why I love this book is that Isherwood gives the reader a very candid account of his relationship with the Swami. It does not avoid controversial and sensitive issues such as homosexuality and the idea of being a pacifist, especially during World War 2. It does not show any pretense in the manner in which Isherwood views his Guru with brutal honesty. A must read for all the homosexuals in the world traveling on the spiritual path. It basically states that one does not have to feel guilty about his/her sexual preferences when approaching God.

5-0 out of 5 stars Swami, How I Love Ya, How I Love Ya.....
Indulging in a third Christopher Isherwood 'novel', after being left flat by 'The Memorial' was a truly enlightening experience. Much like the 'Boy's Own Story' trilogy of Edmund White, though supposedly not an amalgamation of characters (like White's novels) the story outlines 30 years of tutelege under Swami Prabhavananda, and how the influence of this holy man helped shape Isherwood's life.

Beginning in the first half of the 20th century, Isherwood spent many years in and out of the Hindu Vedanta Center run by the Swami. As he struggled with his faith in juxtaposition with his homosexuality, the author found great comfort in the love of the Swami, which was unwavering, despite his knowledge of Isherwood's lifestyle.

Along for the ride are many of Isherwood's contemporaries, including author Aldous Huxley, and an occasional weaving in of other celebrities of the time, such as Greta Garbo, and his lover of many years, Don Bachardy. Isherwood, amongst publication of his own novels, aids in translating the Baghad-Vita with the Swami, and publishes Ramakrishna and His Disciples, a study of a 19th century holy man who embraced all religions as worthy of learning, to appreciate the unity of all.

An interesting portrait of Isherwood himself, this book also delves into the day-to-day workings of the Hindu faith, a Vedanta center, and the life of a Swami, albeit in a Western Cultural setting.

A good read, and as much a peaceful pursuit to read as the pursuit of Isherwood's own inner peace.

5-0 out of 5 stars An English writer in America meets an Indian swami
Surely one of Isherwoods finest works. This memoir tells of his time in Hollywood during World War II and of his meeting and subsiquent association with Swami Prabhavananada. Isherwood approaches the subject with candidreflection and in his usual minimal style takes the reader on a a spiritualquest for the truth behind god and the trail of the pacifists dilemmaduring a crippling war. Auden, Huxley and a host of others walk through thework. An absolute must for Isherwood fans. I cried at the end...one of thebest books I've ever read.

5-0 out of 5 stars account of a heart relationship between student and teacher
One of the most intelligently written books on the subject. Here, Isherwood recounts the events that lead him to meet a man who was to seriously effect the way christopher approached life as a pacifistin a wartorn world. A remarkable relationship between a very modern man and adirect desciple from the lineage of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. I think thatthis is one of the best books I have ever read. Christerpher Isherwood iseconomical with words and yet is evocative,candid and funny. Auden, Huxleyand meany more characters of the time walk through this memoir. I cried atthe end. Written by a master. If you are a cynic on the subject of swamisread this... it was written by one.. ... Read more

10. How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali
by Swami Prabhavananda, Christopher Isherwood, Patanjali
Paperback: 256 Pages (2007-12-12)
list price: US$10.95 -- used & new: US$2.70
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Asin: 0874810418
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali is a major work on the practice of yoga and meditation. Through these ancient aphorisms you will learn how to control your mind and achieve inner peace and freedom. Although these methods were taught over 2,000 years ago, they are as alive and effective today as they have ever been. The 2008 edition has been reset and now has an extensive index for reference. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Source of Inspiration and Guidance
An absolute must for anyone interested in yoga. Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood translate and explain the yoga sutras by Patanjali in a beautiful way. A never ending source of inspiration and guidance.

5-0 out of 5 stars The book that started it all for me..
In about 1970 I was 12 years old, raised in So Cal, felt alienated from Christianity but desperately wanted some answers.Even though my parents were conservative midwesterners they had some hollywood friends that dabbled in eastern mysticism as any self respecting intellectual did in those days.

I just happened to find this book stuck in the crack of the backseat of my fathers car one day.Took it home and read it and it just blew open the doors.Finally something that felt authentic and real in religion/mysticism.Thereafter I spent all my teen years studying yoga and meditation and read hundreds of books on the subject.But none I felt were as clear and compelling as this.I really loved the clear eyed understanding and writing style of Christopher Isherwood, and read a number of his other books.

I'm so glad to see this is in print still and am about to download the Kindle version to re-familiarize myself.Obviously this book has had a more profound affect on my life than any other.The fact that it's still in print along with all the great reviews means it's probably aged well.

4-0 out of 5 stars Perfect for understanding Yoga Sutras
I'm in a yoga certification course and the instructor recommended we have the book. It's great! Really helps in understanding the Yoga Sutra's. It's not something you pick-up and can't put down, more the read a little bit everyday type of book. Kind of like an apple a day.

1-0 out of 5 stars Not recommended
This is not a good translation and in addition the authors add so much commentary that wanders away from the meaning (and is often completely tangential to the meaning), that this book cannot be recommended. One wonders to what extent the writers have actually meditated. There are better translations with better commentary.

5-0 out of 5 stars Guide to magic
Several people, like Deepak Chopra and Dr. Wayne Dyer, mentioned this book, and don't let the title fool you - it has nothing to do with religion. It does tell you that you can do things you never thought you could - or any human could, apart from X-men. It's a yellow brick road, if you will. If you realize that anything like this is possible and quite achievable, then you would know God. ... Read more

11. Ramakrishna and His Disciples
by Christopher Isherwood
Paperback: 340 Pages (1980-12)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$9.88
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Asin: 087481037X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This is a biography of one of India's greatest saints, written for the West by one of Englands greatest authors. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ramakrishna and his disciples
Absolutely engrossing and inspiring,specially in these times where mankind
needs badly a more spiritual approach to everyday life.

5-0 out of 5 stars A blissful experience
This has to rate as one of my top 10 books ever read.It is a wonderfully moving and enjoyable recounting of the life of Sri Ramakrishna.Ramakrishna was a holy man in India in the late 1800's who had one foot in this world and one in the next.He would be discoursing with his followers or answering a devotee's question and suddenly he would be in samadhi.One really becomes enveloped in bliss while reading about this wonderful man who studied all of the world's spiritual traditions so he could appreciate their unity and was so profoundly practical and loving.It is a joy to read as it is written by an author at the top of his craft.

5-0 out of 5 stars Meeting a Master's Mandala
Ramakrishna is an interesting case-an Avatar of God born and living in an age of imperial rationalism, a master famous for teaching Advaita and for his worship of a personal God, and a man often fearful of women while remaining intensely devoted to the black Mother goddess, Kali. Even his closest disciples found him a mystery, and could not always bring themselves to agree with him (c.f. Narendra's carnivory).

Isherwood, to his credit, doesn't try to explain these paradoxes. He just tells a story, largely based on The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (good reading, by the way), of men he's clearly in love with; Isherwood leaves interpretation mostly to the reader. A biography such as this one, explaining in detail how a teacher's work was received and by whom, helps us understand how a particular body of knowledge works as it does.And Isherwood's prose has the same level of craft as, say, Thomas Hardy's. This is, simply, a fine biography, clearly a work of deep devotion.

Really good teachers teach with their lives as examples, so biographies can be a precious commodity. Want more? You may find Kieth Dowman's text Masters of Mahamudra useful to you; in one volume you get the biographies of eighty-four mahasiddhas.

May your own biography be a long, peaceful, and productive one.

4-0 out of 5 stars informative
if you're looking for a book on ramakrishna that's an easy read , this is it . its a good introduction , and one that probably goes down well with a reader not too familiar with hindu thought and hagiography . its a well organised book , covering the life of sri sri ramakrishna in approximate chronological order . too little has been said of his disciples , especially one titled "ramakrishna and his disciples " . don't expect an in depth look at ramakrishna (nor his disciples ), there are other books which delve more deeply . isherwood takes time to explain certain hindu concepts which should prove useful for the neophyte .

anyone with prior knowledge of ramakrishna's life would find this book a decent re-hash of material found in other books ( most notably those by the vedanta press ) . all in all , worth the buy .

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book
It is one of the best books I've seen about Ramakrisna.It covers his whole life. There are many histories about his childhood very interesting and beautiful. It Talks about the disciples, mainly about Vivekananda. It's one of the best books I've read in my life. Highly recommended. ... Read more

12. Goodbye to Berlin. (Lernmaterialien)
by Christopher Isherwood, Hans-Christian Oeser
Paperback: 280 Pages (1994-07-01)
-- used & new: US$284.07
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Asin: 3150090105
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13. Lions and Shadows: An Education in the Twenties
by Christopher Isherwood, Christopher Isherwood
Paperback: 312 Pages (2000-04-25)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$66.50
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Asin: 0816636044
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars THE Isherwood book

Largely autobiographical,Isherwood covers his life from prep school to Cambridge and a brief,ill advised stint in medical school and brings to life the characters that illuminated him (thinly disguised Auden and Spender amongst others) on his journey to self awareness and becoming a writer.
This book is so good. The narrative is rich and never bores and Isherwood wonderfully evokes the atmosphere of post WW1 England;the fleeting mentions of Hitler,Mussolini and the 1926 general strike all add to the narrative,and the wittisisms and anecdotes are superlative. Odds on you'll be refering to the 'watcher in Spanish' 'Poshocrats' and the 'Poshocracy' ever after!
The copy I bought had a crass 1970's illustration and stencil lettering on the cover.If ever a book so completely proves the old adage re not judging a book,this is it. Arguably better than even his 'Berlin' novels.A definate five star book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic Isherwood. I enjoyed it tremendously
This is sort of a novelization of Isherwood's years as a student and the between the wars era in England. I find that era fascinating and this book is filled with details about how life was lived back then.

The book is very readable. Isherwood has a distinct, clear writing style that I love. He makes everything interesting. If you liked Berlin Stories I'd expect you'll like this as well. (That's how I came to this book). Highly recommended. ... Read more

14. The Isherwood Century: Essays on the Life and Work of Christopher Isherwood
Paperback: 312 Pages (2001-08-21)
list price: US$21.95 -- used & new: US$2.99
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Asin: 0299167046
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Winner of the 2001 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Studies. Best known for The Berlin Stories -the inspiration for the "Tony and Academy Award-winning" musical Cabaret -Christopher Isherwood has always been considered both a literary and a gay pioneer. Through twenty-four essays and interviews, The Isherwood Century offers a fresh, in-depth view of the author, his literary legacy, and his continuing influence.Amazon.com Review
In the absence of a definitive biography of Christopher Isherwood, this rich resource of personal reminiscence and considered critical reflection is the next best thing. It may even become one of the essential books for students of English literature and culture in the 20th century, as well as for those drawn to the rowdy and fertile expatriate communities around Hollywood during and after World War II. Concentrating on Isherwood's life in Southern California, where he settled in 1939, here are essays by younger friends and students, among them the photographer Stathis Orphanos and the writers Carolyn Heilbrun and James P. White; an interview with Isherwood's companion, the artist Don Bachardy; and excerpts from his dairies. Critical essays from Edmund White and others range from discussions of the "long road of understanding" that Isherwood began with Prater Violet (1945) and his explorations of Vedanta to his collaborations with his friend W.H. Auden and the drawings Bachardy made of Isherwood as he lay dying in the winter of 1985-86. The contributions to this book are thoughtful, somewhat modest, and unfailingly entertaining. It is a fitting homage to a writer who devoted many years to trying to curb his ego, the better to see reality behind appearances and the better to write it down. --Regina Marler ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Isherwood would approve of this form of biography
"The Isherwood Century".What a great choice of title for this invaluable(and well edited) collections of essays, interviews,ruminations on the life and influence of Christopher Isherwood.While hisis a household name, primarily beacuse of the worldwide success andendurance of "Cabaret" the musical based on his Berlin Stories (Iam a Camera, Goodbye to Berlin, etc), this informed and endlesslyinteresting survey provides a fine documentation for Isherwood's positionof importance on 20th Century literature, his positive role model for gaywriters and all gay people who care about significant relationships, hiscourage as an early pacifist, his impact on those students fortunate enoughto have studied in his unique classes.Reading first hand encounters fromsuch a broad spectrum of friends and reporters always give a more finetuned view than a straight out biography.And for a man whose literaryskills polished the concept of autobigraphy that is matched by few others, this is quite an achievement.

Reading "The Isherwood Century"is discovering an involved panorama of life in the past century -politically, artistically, internationally, psychologically, andspiritually.More than a memoir, this book remains intimate despite itsscope.At last we have a reference (outside of his own wondrous diaries)that validates the greatness of this significant human being.

5-0 out of 5 stars A "must" for all students and fans of Isherwood's writings.
The Isherwood Century is an impressive collection of essays and interviews on the life and work of Christopher Isherwood, including a fresh, in-depthview of his literary legacy and continuing influence. Included areKatherine Bucknell (Who is Christopher Isherwood?); Dan Luckenbill(Isherwood in Los Angeles); Stathis Orphanos (In the Blink of an Eye:Evolving with Christopher Isherwood); Michael S. Harper (Ish circa1959-1963); Michael S. Harper (Reading from Isherwood's Letter circa1959-1963); Robert Peters (Gay Isherwood Visits Straight Riverside);Carolyn G. Heilbrun (My Isherwood, My Bachardy); James P. White (Write ItDown or It's Lost: Isherwood as Mentor), and sixteen other informative andinsightful contributors. The Isherwood Century is a "must" forall students and fans of Isherwood's accomplishments and thoughts.

5-0 out of 5 stars An intimate and illuminating portrait of the man and artist
As a long-time reader of Isherwood's novels, autobiographies and diaries, I thought I knew everything there was to know about him. I was wrong, and I'm happy to say that I learned a great deal about the intimate Isherwood(as opposed to the person he chose to reveal in his work) from thiscollection. The informal Isherwood is here in memoirs and reminiscences,first and foremost by his partner Don Bachardy. As you would expect,Bachardy's portrait of Isherwood is precise, detailed, affectionate andharrowing (his series of drawings of Isherwood's last days are included),but the memories of former students of Isherwood as teacher, mentor andfriend are equally revealing. The professional Isherwood appears inpreviously unpublished interviews and memoirs by such colleagues as CarolynHeilbrun, whose piece about her few intersections with Isherwood as aliterary subject takes an interesting turn into recalling his profoundkindness to her in a time of spiritual crisis. And the lively andaccessible essays by literary scholars served first to remind me of what anoriginal and vivid writer Isherwood was and second to send me back to thenovels that so inspired me when I first encountered them. Isherwoodachieved thrilling literary effects by combining witheringly accurateobservation of his characters with asensual evocation of time and placeas if by magic. It seems only fitting that when the many writers here takevery different beads on this complex man and artist what emerges from thecollage of viewpoints is a surprisingly emotional and coherent portrait ofthe man himself. ... Read more

15. I Am a Camera
by John Van Druten, Christopher Isherwood
Paperback: Pages (1998-01)
list price: US$7.50 -- used & new: US$5.82
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Asin: 0822205459
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars I am a Camera
Splendid.I guess it's partway between the book "Sally Bowles" and the film "Cabaret" and I look forward to studying it with my English students and seeing it as a playreading soon.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stunning
I'm a sucker for plays, and this play is no exception.I was fascinated by the title and read it without having any idea as to what the contentwas.It is wonderfully written and stark for the time it was written.Ittells the story of Christopher Isherwood and the time he spends in Germanyduring the Second World War.You confront frank subjects and controversialtopics in this book, and you realize that during World War II, peopleworried about some of the same things today, such as unwanted pregnancy andracism, to name a couple.Everything you once viewed in an idealized wayduring this time period unravels, and you don't really mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Life Is A Cabaret
In all its forms (plays, movies, and books) the legacy of the radical Sally Bowles will live on forever. It is the lidicracy of the times that makes this spectackle a spectacle. A starving artist in Berlin that on NewYears Eve met a wild and (quote-on-quote) "Perfectly MarvelousGirl" in a drab nightclub in the mist of the third reich. The spiritof the girl in this grim country is one of the reasons that her story willlive forever. And also, seeing a performance in Davis, California starringMatt Dunn as the Emcee, and Rebecca Tosca Grey as the ever so taslentedSally Bowles releived me of all my stress, as well as "mindmatter." ... Read more

16. Diaries: Volume 1, 1939-1960
by Christopher Isherwood
Paperback: 1104 Pages (1998-10-01)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$140.54
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061180181
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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In 1939 Christopher Isherwood and W. H. Auden emigrated together to the United States. These diaries, covering the period up to 1960, describe Isherwood's search for a new life in California, where he eventually settled.

The diaries tell how Isherwood became a disciple of the Hindu monk Swami Prabhavananda; about his pacifism during World War II; about his work as a screenwriter in Hollywood and his friendships with such gifted artists and intellectuals as Garbo, Chaplin, Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, Stravinsky, Aldous Huxley, Gielgud, Olivier, Richard Burton, and Charles Laughton, many of whom were émigrés like himself.

Throughout this period, Isherwood continued to write novels and sustain his literary friendship with E. M. Forster, Somerset Maugham, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, and others. He turned to his diary several times a week to record jokes and gossip, observations about his adopted country, philosophy and mystical insights. In spare, luminous prose, he also revealed his most intimate and passionate relationships, particularly with Bill Caskey and later with the very young Don Bachardy.Amazon.com Review
Christopher Isherwood is noted for his novels andautobiographical writings, especially The Berlin Stories (thebasis for the film, Cabaret) and Christopher and HisKind. But Isherwood put at least as much of his genius in hisDiaries as he did in his writings intended for immediatepublication. The first volume follows Isherwood as he emigrates fromEngland to the United States where he became a Hollywoodscriptwriter. This volume continues with his lifelong affair with DonBachardy to his establishment as a major writer in the early1960s. Isherwood's Diaries are beautifully written, gossipy,and indispensable for anyone who cares about writing, the creativeprocess, and gay history. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT book...great writer...World War 2insights!
great day by day accounts of life...before and during ww II.Isherwood is a gay man..but with incredible insight.And he knew and mingled with the greats of Motion Picture History...iconic people like Garbo, Chaplin...he took breakfast with these people and went for walks with them....as just "friends"...and during a very interesting time in America's and the world's history.WW II.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pleasant reading
Not sure why some people reacted so strongly to this book. Yes, at times it reads like a secretary's account of some very dull meeting - but that is also its charm. There's an utter lack of pretense or self drama. Rather, it is a very meticulous accounting of the people Isherwood meets and his struggles to achieve a spiritual balance. This is like watching time pass while sitting on a curb where nothing much happens - only the view is of another's world and time. I enjoyed the gentleness of this man although his experiences and spiritual struggles are far from my own.

4-0 out of 5 stars The truth is plain
I found this book compelling for a number of reasons. Like at least two reviewers here, as an Isherwood fan, I found his accounts of the early years fascinating. More interesting perhaps, one of the reasons I foundthem fascinating was because they were often banal, tedious, (but were theyever malicious?) full of frality and the soft vanities of an aging man.Surrounded by vain and often shallow people, his struggle to findspirituality in his work and in his friends was admirable, even if at timesit did shock. In the end it is the humility of some of these entries thatstruck me, the fear that the best was behind, that ahead lay only declineand darkness. Finally, the genre of the diary is a peculiar entity. I amnot sure it can be read like a book. It requires to be read in small bits,and always with an eye to the odd disjuncture of privacy and the publicdomain. Isherwood would not have been ashamed by this work, he might wellhave seen it as a parody of St Augustine: please make me celebite, but notyet.

5-0 out of 5 stars Moving and instructive
As an ardent fan of Isherwood's novels, I am, perhaps, the ideal consumer for these lengthy diaries. I left the book on my bedside table, only to be read at night, and for three months enjoyed the author's observant, witty,spiritual, intelligent and sometimes banal entries with thankful adoration.Covering as they do a span of time that allows for great personal change,as well as an ever-shifting political climate, the Diaries open a windowinto a beloved author's day-to-day, while painting a fascinating backdropthat moves from Hollywood glamour to Pennsylvannia Quakerism to EasternSpirituality and back. Isherwood's writing is always crisp, and wisewithout condescension. Through his devotion to searching outself-awareness, I found myself re-examining my own creative productionlevels. Put simply, the book is truly inspirational. I can't wait for thenext installment.

4-0 out of 5 stars I thought this was a fascinating acount of Isherwood's life
This title should be read by all fans of Isherwoods' novels and stories for insight into the man's character and life-style during his middle years after he emigrated to the United States. I was particularly interested inhis committment to Vedanta and how that developed during these years, aswell as the gradual development of his relationship with the very young DonBachardy about whom we have so little information otherwise. Bachardy wasand is a very private person. Isherwood emerges as a complex man and, likemost diaries, this book shows him with all his personality warts as well asthe ups and downs of his daily life. He suffered acutely at various timesfrom very human maladies; boredom, writers' block, lonliness andhypochondriacal concerns. I think this has to be remembered when readingsomeone's diaries or letters. It's like seeing a person undressed; you getto view the good, the bad and the ugly. There is surprisingly little ofIsherwood's sexual views or life included here however; certainly not muchthat is explicit, and his occasional bitchy remarks about Hollywoodpersonalities is refreshingly candid. I would compare these diaries tothose of Evelyn Waugh although Isherwood was far less the curmudgeon thatWaugh was and lacked Waugh's crusty mean spiritedness. ... Read more

17. Prater Violet
by Christopher Isherwood
Paperback: 128 Pages (2001-04)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0816638616
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The classic novel on the golden era of film, now back in print!

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.

"Prater Violet, in my view, is one of the best short novels in English written in this century." Stanley Kauffmann

"Prater Violet is the most charming novel I have read in a long time. . . . a novel about movie writers, which is yet a novel about the life of every serious artist." Diana Trilling

"A deliberate historical parable. Prater Violet resembles the episodes in Goodbye to Berlin and keeps up the same high level of excellence." Edmund Wilson

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

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great read - Highly recommended
I had searched for a quote from this book for years, one that best sums up all my feelings about the film industry. Having discovered the quote, I read the entire novel and was enraptured by it. I read it in one sitting and couldn't put it down. The characters are fantastically developed and paint a rather bleak yet accurate portrayal of past and present film personalities. And I quote:

"You have never been inside a film studio? ... It is really [the same as a] palace of the 16th Century. There one sees what Shakespeare saw: the absolute power of the tyrant, the courtiers, the flatterers, the jesters, the cunningly ambitious intriguers. There are fantastically beautiful women . . . incompetent favorites . . . great men who are suddenly disgraced . . . insane extravagances . . . unexpected parsimony . . . enormous splendor, which is a sham . . . horrible squalor hidden behind the scenery . . . vast schemes abandoned because of some caprice . . . secrets which everybody knows and no one speaks of. There are even two or three honest advisers. These are the court fools, who speak the deepest wisdom in puns, lest they should be taken seriously. They grimace, and tear their hair privately, and weep."

4-0 out of 5 stars Small book/big punch
The size of this book is in indirect proportion to the impression or stamp it makes. I don't know if it beats "The End of Mr. Norris" and "I am a Camera" in terms of virtuosity and fluidity in terms of storyline, character, but one amazing thing is looking at the date - 1946 - and being completely taken aback at how modern Christopher Isherwood is. There's a contemporary feel to everything he does and Prater Violet highlights them all. Sorry this review isn't more specific but I've called on plotpoints in this book in tough (personal) situations and feel I at least owe it a (general) review.

5-0 out of 5 stars a little novella about nostalgia, film, and Hitler
I reread this lovely novel earlier this year.In a way, it's better than Berlin Stories because of its conciseness and the humor is more sophisticated.What had been funny looms like familiar smells over everything when history steps in.I laughed so much and felt so much as I read and that is the reason why we must keep reading Isherwood and slowing down time so that we can perceive when one is being amusing or humble or genuine, without artifice.

4-0 out of 5 stars One of Isherwoods best
For those who never wanted "Berlin Stories" to end, "Prater Violet" will be a welcomed treat.Isherwood's fictions were, for the most part, only thinly veiled memoirs - indeed he plays a part in most without even the contrivance of altering his name.However, whether they be fact or fictions, these stories are original and delightful.Isherwood's adventures in the film colony of London prove irresistible.Each of the characters, Chatsworth, Ashmeade and the great director Friedrich Bergmann, are drawn with wit and clarity.What is most remarkable is how fresh this material is considering it was published in 1945.A very fine and rewarding short novel.

4-0 out of 5 stars At the movies
Isherwood's short novel is autobiographical fiction about being hired to write a screenplay for a movie called "Prater Violet" during early World War 2. There's lots of world politics, of course, as well as the politics of the worldwide movie industry (Hollywood included). Isherwood's writing is superb, and fills this brief space with a lush garden of a story. Here's a quote: "This business about the box office is just a sentimental democratic fiction. If you stuck together and refused to make anything but, say, abstract films, the public would have to go and see them, and like them..." ... Read more

18. Wishing Tree Christopher Isherwood On My
by Christopher Isherwood
Paperback: 219 Pages (2002-09)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$7.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0062504029
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Christopher Isherwood came to the Vedanta Society fed up with religion, in fact, rather angry about the whole experience. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Western Spirituality
If you have ever wondered how a Western man, who was raised in a strict Christian environment, and grew up to be an intellectual and atheist, was turned on to the path of yoga and Vedanta, you should read this book. It is a compilation of essays by an influential figure who contributed much to the rise of yoga in the West.

Gudjon Bergmann, author of Living in the Spirit of Yoga (2010) and The Seven Human Needs (2006)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reading on Spiritual Living
I knew Chris for many years. He had a wonderful irreverence for rules and organized religion, but was a deeply spiritual man. By the end of his life, you could feel a warmth of heart that came from his spirit.

Chris'sapproach to Vedanta is a delight for people who are interested in the trueessence of religion.

I also appreciate his sense of humor thatcomes into the writing, as when he talks about Swami Vivekananda sleepingin a railway car one night, then sits across the street from a lady namedMrs. George Hale. As Chris wrote,

"Mrs. Hale was, fortunately,not a conventional woman.. She did not call the police and ask the strangerto move on. She did not even ring the servants to ask what he wanted. Shenoticed that he was unshaven, and that his clothese were crumpled anddirty, but she was aware also that there was a kind of royal air abouthim.... Mrs. Hale suddenly made a most intelligent guess; coming out of thehouse and crossing the street, she asked him politely,"Sir, are you adelegate to the Parliament of Religions?"

"She wasanswered with equal politeness, in fluent educated English..." ... Read more

19. Mr Isherwood Changes Trains: Christopher Isherwood and the search for the 'home self'
by Victor Marsh
Paperback: 310 Pages (2010-03-19)
list price: US$27.00 -- used & new: US$27.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 098071205X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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British expatriate writer Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986) lived more than half his life in California, writing for the Hollywood studios. Famous initially for the stories he wrote about his time in Berlin during the rise of the Nazis, he attracted a second wave of interest in the 1970s with his 'out' biography Christopher and His Kind. But much less is known about Christopher Isherwood's writing during his forty years as a student of guru from the Ramakrishna Order.In Mr Isherwood Changes Trains, Victor Marsh confronts the assumptions and prejudices that have combined to disparge the sincerity of Isherwood's religious life. Marsh elucidates those features of Vedanta philosophy that enabled Isherwood to intergrate the various aspects of his dharma: his vocation as a writer, and a spirituality not based on the repudiation of his sexuality. Marsh details the life search for a 'home self' that found expression in later works such as My Guru and His Disciple and in what it is seen as Isherwood's finest novel, A Single Man. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars A train worth catching
Like that other great literary exile to California, Aldous Huxley, Christopher Isherwood indeed changed trains, and for both authors it is in their exploration and exposition of train no. 2 that I have personally found great clarity and comfort.Both wrote spiritual masterpieces, but of a very different flavour: for Huxley it was the breathtaking intellectual brilliance of The Perennial Philosophy, while for Isherwood it was the simplicity of his profoundly moving late work, My Guru and his Disciple.Respectively, they encapsulate the wisdom of the head and the heart, knowledge and devotion, jnana and bhakti.And the two come together in what must be considered one of the most penetrating translations of the Bhagavad Gita, by Isherwood and his guru, Swami Prabhavananda, with Huxley providing a clear and learned introduction.Here is how Isherwood renders into verse the opening stanzas of Chapter IX, in which Krishna instructs Arjuna:

Since you accept me
And do not question,
Now I shall tell you
That innermost secret:
Knowledge of God
Which is nearer than knowing,
Open vision
Direct and instant.
Understand this
And be free forever
From birth and dying
With all their evil.

This is the knowledge
Above all other:
And king of secrets,
Only made plain
To the eye of the mystic.
Great is its virtue,
Its practice easy:
Thus man is brought
To truth eternal.

While for Huxley the change of train has been widely noted and accepted in both scholarship and popular culture, this is not the case for Isherwood.As Victor Marsh explains so well, it is because his homosexuality has always had the lion's share of the academic as well as the public focus and analysis.The recent film version of A Single Man with Colin Firth is a case in point - and it is with a certain synchronistic aptness that the publication of Mr Isherwood Changes Trains follows so closely after the film's release.So a big thank you to Victor Marsh for redressing the balance in a way that is both scholarly and lively.Conceptually, Marsh has the enviable ability to leap with ease (to borrow a phrase from P.G. Wodehouse) from crag to crag, like the chamoix of the Alps.For that pleasure alone the book is worth reading, but with the added bonus of a fascinating subject and a wonderfully hopeful conclusion, it is more than value for money.In Marsh's words:

"In a kind of reverse colonisation, Isherwood turned 'East' to seek out practical technologies of introspection, namely meditation and other supporting tools, to turn within and examine the roots of self.The disciplined practices learned from his guru served to channel his earlier searches - through Socialism, and mid-century psychology - into a systematic transformational process."

5-0 out of 5 stars The unexpected Christopher Isherwood
Since the elegant movie of his novel A SINGLE MAN circled the globe recently, & with memories still lingering of his character Sally Bowles at pre-WWII Nazi Berlin from his novel & the 1970's movie CABARET, Christopher Isherwood is revived once again. But this time it's from the perspective of his spiritual practice viewed from within his personality as a gay man.

His literary notoriety as an 'out' Brit emigre at pre-War Malibu is given greater depth by Dr Victor Marsh's richly-textured reminder of how Isherwood was also a devotee of Vedanta, the Indian philosophy of spiritual (non-dual) yoga. From at least the 1940's when Isherwood co-translated THE BHAGAVAD GITA with Los Angeles-based Swami Prabhavananda, a Vedantic yogi, right through until the 1980's with MY GURU AND HIS DISCIPLE, the writer displayed his commitment to, and understanding of, this ancient form of spiritual idealism. Marsh's perceptive insights into both these dimensions of Isherwood's experience show how the confluence of Queer & spirituality is not at all contradictory. Like so many others in recent decades, he restores the former to its legitimate place of social respect while reminding us of the persuasive allure of the depth-dimension of spiritual practice.

4-0 out of 5 stars Isherwood re-visited
Christopher Isherwood seems to have fallen off the radar. Victor Marsh argues that his late work, especially that driven by his commitment to Vedantic practice, never was on the radar. Marsh's book is a fascinating re-visiting of Isherwood, especially his homosexuality and how it may or may not shape up against his spiritual convictions. Marsh points out a prevailing prejudice, namely that it is not possible to be gay and still have spiritual integrity. In fact, this is equally true of heterosexuality. Mired in our puritanical swamp, we just can't come to terms with our own carnality. Hence, the need for myths such as the virgin birth. This book is successful in the way it takes us on Isherwood's journey, because what is intriguing about Isherwood is how he was obsessed with his own fallibility, but soldiered on, making mistakes all along the way, but constantly striving - like Goethe's Faust - for ever deeper insight. He comes across as a courageous man, not just publicly (as with his flight to the U.S. before the War and coming out as a homosexual), but more importantly in his private world. One suspects that Isherwood's journey is analogous to Marsh's own journey - or, indeed, to all our journeys, because as the book progresses, more and more veils are thrust aside. And, pace Eliot, the end of all this exploring is to return to where we started and know the place for the first time. True to Vedantic principles - or what Aldous Huxley called the Perennial Philosophy - the issue is not how we get our rocks off, but desire itself. As long as we are driven by desire (or fail to acknowledge or be conscious of that desire), we will remain blind. This is where Marsh brings us to the end of Isherwood's courageous and, I think, ultimately humble journey to self-understanding. Or, perhaps the Self itself is one of those veils which needs to be tossed aside. This is a sometimes dense book. But it repays careful reading and could equally be described as an inspiring book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The right train
I loved this book - partly because it sheds new light on the aspects of Christopher Isherwood's life that do not make logical sense ( a spiritual homosexual socialist aristocrat?) but which actually fit together perfectly when we understand his embracing of Advaita - a cosmic view of life in which there is no separation.Marsh writes lucidly about thegreat benefitsthat come from being in the presence of a Guru who has travelled the road in advance of the student.And he makes it clear that one does not surrender to the Guru, but to One's Self. This makes it a valuable book for all spiritual seekers.

5-0 out of 5 stars much-needed revision of Isherwood as a religious writer
Victor Marsh's book is splendid in every way. Marsh makes a very strong case for Isherwood as a religiously important writer while addressing the issue of gay writers being ghettoized by being locked into the homosexual box--i.e., if one is homosexual, one then cannot be taken seriously as a religious writer. Marsh asks, What is a gay man when he is not having sex? The book is a very welcome breath of fresh air. The writing is lively while the book's points are cogently argued.
Isherwood's religious writings have to this date not been taken seriously. They have been actively neglected, frowned upon, dismissed as an embarrassment. Marsh addresses the religious discrimination gay writers face from hostile elements within organized religions as well as from various members of the gay community who fear the historic repression that homosexuality has faced from organized religions. For anyone with an interest in Christopher Isherwood or queer spirituality, this book is be a must-read. ... Read more

20. Bhagavad-Gita: The Song of God
Paperback: 144 Pages (2002-07-01)
list price: US$6.95 -- used & new: US$2.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451528441
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The Bhagavad-Gita is the Gospel of Hinduism, and one of the great religious classics of the world. Its simple, vivid message is a daily inspiration in the lives of millions throughout the world and has been so for countless generations.

Here is a distinguished translation that can be read by every person, not as an archaic monument to an ancient culture, but as a living contemporary message that touches the most urgent personal and social problems. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

2-0 out of 5 stars OKay, cheap little paperback
Okay, but if you are looking for a book that you would like to keep around and refer back to I would not recommend this version.But, is a great little book.

1-0 out of 5 stars Bad print quality
Wanted to have an extra copy of this book in addition to a hardcover copy but what a disappointment. The print quality is horrible, the text is hardly readable, fuzzy and smudged, it looks like something coming out of a 10yr old inkjet printer. Get the Gita by all means but avoid this print version.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Gita for the pocket
It is a wonderful version. If you read "The Guru and His Disciple", which is Christopher Isherwood's memoirs in part, he tells the story of how the final version came about. Crestfallen because an editor finally admitted she couldn't tell the difference between the previous draft and all other translations, Isherwood went to his room and half an hour later returned with the first pages completely re-written. It went over so well, he was inspired to convert large pieces in the same poetical style. And rightly so, as the original is, after all, part an epic poem.

I have to give it a four since part of the first chapter is left out because it is "like the list of ships in Homer". And because Huxley was probably the wrong person to write the Intro. What Huxley says is worth reading, of course, but it should be read as Huxley and not representing Prabhavananda or Vedantism.

Otherwise, there are so many copies of this floating around in used bookstores, and at such low prices, and because it is so readable, this is the one to carry in your back pocket or fill with marginalia.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good book but poor quality of print and paper
The book is undoubtedly good. It gives a good overview of the Gita and discusses the principles of Hinduism in simple language. I was only disappointed on the quality of paper and print. Barnes & Noble has a good hardcover option on this book, which is a good buy.

5-0 out of 5 stars timeless wisdom for today
I haven't read any other translation of the Gita, so I don't have any opinion about this translation vis a vis any other translation.However, I can say that this translation is simple to read and understand, and that the message of the Gita has had an enormous impact on my life.I read it every day for guidance and inspiration, and it is a wonderful antidote to the toxic messages that bombard us daily from advertisers and the media.I highly recommend this book. ... Read more

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