Christopher Isherwood Inside Out (Hardback)
  • Christopher Isherwood Inside Out (Hardback)
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Christopher Isherwood Inside Out (Hardback)

(author)
£35.00
Hardback 864 Pages
Published: 20/06/2024
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Waterstones Says

A resounding tribute to the author of the 'Berlin novels' and A Single Man, this eye-opening new biography sheds light on Christopher Isherwood's rich and adventurous life and literary genius.

An engrossing new biography of the man whose writings about 1930s Berlin made him famous. From the editor of Isherwood’s diaries and letters.

Christopher Isherwood rejected the life he was born to and set out to make a different one. Heir to an English estate, he flunked out of university, moved to Berlin, was driven through Europe by the Nazis, and circled the globe before settling in Hollywood.

There he adopted a new religion and continued to form the friendships – including an astounding number of romantic and sexual ones – through which he discovered himself.

Using a wealth of unpublished material, Christopher Isherwood Inside Out tells how the traumas of his father’s death in World War I and his failure to protect his German lover from the Nazis were healed by his life as a monk in the 1940s, enabling him to commit unflinchingly to a sexually open relationship in the 1950s, and to come out as a ‘grand old man’ of the gay rights movement in the 1970s.

With this new biography, enriched by unlimited access to Isherwood’s partner Don Bachardy, Katherine Bucknell shows how Christopher Isherwood achieved a uniquely inspiring personal life. He effected lasting change in our culture, through both his literary works and the way he lived.

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9780701186388
Number of pages: 864
Weight: 975 g
Dimensions: 242 x 162 x 42 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'This is a first-rate biography of the man, the writer, and the lover. If he had stayed in England, he would have been the squire of Marple Hall in Cheshire - very, very different to the Christopher I knew' - David Hockney

'It’s hard to imagine a better qualified candidate for this task [of writing Isherwood's biography] than Katherine Bucknell… [with] meticulous detail… [she] offers the reader plenty of eye-widening moments… she is good at noticing hidden patterns in Isherwood’s life - Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, The Times

‘The best biography I’ve ever read. Christopher Isherwood, was a mindful, moral man, an example for all, and a wonderfully talented writer. The author, Katherine Bucknell, explores every moment of his life—English, German, American—and links them all to the vast ongoing project of his life and work. The book is long but every page is full of surprises’ - Edmund White, author of THE MARRIED MAN

‘Katherine Bucknell writes so well, the depth and width of her research is astonishing, and she brings Isherwood to life with vividness and acute perception. Her understanding of his complex character is truly remarkable, as well as those of his many different worlds on both sides of the Atlantic, and of his vast number of friends and lovers — Bachardy, of course in particular. She is also excellent on Isherwood’s work, which she writes about with exceptional vision and clarity. This biography is a magnificent achievement’ - Selina Hastings, author of SYBILLE BEDFORD: A LIFE

'This book - profoundly sympathetic to its subject, lucidly and excitingly written - is both a fast paced story of an extraordinary life and a broadly illuminating history of vast cultural changes across eight decades and four continents. Katherine Bucknell, having edited four volumes of Isherwood’s diaries, has distilled her expertise into the finest literary biography of its century' - Edward Mendelson, author of Early Auden, Later Auden

'The best biographies make the reader feel they are looking over the subject’s shoulder, watching them grow up and into life. Katherine Bucknell does exactly this, marshalling an enormous range of scholarship with insight, empathy, and humour. Her long immersion in Isherwood’s work and life is lightly worn, she writes beautifully, and whether she is invoking declining English country-house life, Weimar Berlin, mid-century Hollywood or the alternative cultures of California, one trusts her judgement implicitly. Christopher Isherwood Inside Out matches its subject's narrative skill and psychological insight, and brilliantly illuminates his search for a new way to live' - R. F. Foster, author of W. B. Yeats: A Life

'Every writer or student of writing should read this book because it so intelligently pinpoints the sources of the characters and events in his novels; it helps explain the pragmatic mechanics of inspiration and the vital importance, to a writer, of selection. It's so clear that he was not only a genius but an exquisite craftsman, and how useless it is to be one without the other. But genius can be foreboding; you don't often want to be in its company. What's wonderful is Bucknell has captured the excitement and the engagement of being with Isherwood ... A magnificent achievement' - Martin Sherman, producer of Bent

'A roller-coaster ride through a genuinely remarkable life. Katherine Bucknell has had full access to all the primary sources—and it shows. Her Isherwood is both fascinating and dangerous, as reckless in his relationships as he was scrupulous in his art. His virtues shine, and his faults are documented with admirable candour' - Neil Bartlett, author of SKIN LANE

'Katherine Bucknell combines the descriptive talent of a novelist with the passion of a biographer to conjure up a portrait of a man whose work continues to captivate and intrigue today‘ - Alexandra Shulman, author of Clothes . . . and Other Things that Matter

'Open this thick book to almost any page about Christopher Isherwood’s important and glamorous life, and you will find a lot about the fascinating people this supreme twentieth century literary artist often saw. What stars he knew in his magic circle during his many lives, from thirties Berlin down to post-war Hollywood and after' - James Ivory, founder of Merchant Ivory

'A sweeping portrait of Isherwood's remarkable life journey ... Bucknell urgently draws attention to Isherwood’s courageous life as an openly gay man and his vital role in advancing gay liberation through his writing ... An engrossing, rigorously documented study of a 20th-century literary trailblazer' - Kirkus, starred review*

'Bucknell brings scholarly acumen and bravura storytelling to her stunning biography . . . [Her] background as a novelist shows in her elegant lyricism . . . [while t]he sharp analysis sheds light on how Isherwood’s life influenced his work . . . This is a monumental achievement' - Kirkus, starred review

Bucknell’s research is deeply impressive and her judgments astute - Guardian

Admirable… Bucknell…handles [Isherwood]…with confidence and insight - Daily Telegraph

Katherine Bucknell is the perfect biographer… It’s the triumph of Christopher Isherwood Inside Out that Bucknell’s version not only transcends all previous attempts [of biography] but also convincingly unites the astonishing scope and variety of the writer’s English and American lives into an enthralling, and finally moving, portrait of an artist - Independent

Katherine Bucknell has crowned her life’s work with a biography of her own… her book is a triumph of sympathetic understanding. She has carved her subject a place in the pantheon, and the benefits of her work, to general readers as well as to scholars, will last for a very long time - New Statesman

Bucknell is clever, sometimes daring, and…convincing… [An] excellent biography - Times Literary Supplement

[Isherwood’s] wandering life is captured in this meticulous biography - Sunday Times, Summer Reads of 2024*

[An] epic new biography… Bucknell knows Isherwood like no one else… in all his grippingly messed-up splendour… Her account is utterly moving, right to the end - Literary Review

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