Christopher Isherwood

Christopher Isherwood (1904–1986), perhaps the first major openly gay writer to be read extensively by a wider audience, was one of the most distinguished authors of the twentieth century. His literary friendships encompassed such writers as W. H. Auden, E. M. Forster, Stephen Spender, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and Somerset Maugham.

All the Conspirators

Christopher Isherwood was only twenty-one when he began his first novel, All the Conspirators, in 1926; it was published in England two years later. In his introduction to the first American edition (published by New Directions in 1958), Isherwood explains: “All the Conspirators records a minor engagement in what Shelley calls ‘the great war between the old and young.’ And what a war it was!” All the Conspirators (like the classic Berlin Stories) grows out of a particular historical situation—the transformation of English life after WWI—but it is also the story of a young artist defying his mother’s expectation that he will pursue a conventional middle-class profession.…
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Mr Norris Changes Trains

On a train to Berlin in late 1930, William Bradshaw locks eyes with Arthur Norris, an irresistibly comical fellow Englishman wearing a rather obvious wig and nervous about producing his passport at the frontier. So begins a friendship conducted in the seedier quarters of the city, where Norris runs a dubious import-export business and lives in excited fear of his bullying secretary, his creditors, and his dominatrix girlfriend, Anni. As the worldwide economic Depression strangles the masses and the Communists make a desperate stand against Fascism and war, Norris sells himself as political orator, spy, and double agent.…
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Goodbye to Berlin

First published in 1934, Goodbye to Berlin has been popularized on stage and screen by Julie Harris in I Am a Camera and Liza Minelli in Cabaret. Isherwood magnificently captures 1931 Berlin: charming with its avenues and cafés; marvelously grotesque with its nightlife and dreamers; dangerous with its vice and intrigue; powerful and seedy with its mobs and millionaires. The shadow of Hitler looms menacingly, towering higher and higher. Goodbye to Berlin is inhabited by a wealth of characters: the unforgettable and “divinely decadent” Sally Bowles; plump Fraülein Schroeder, who considers reducing her Büste to relieve heart palpitations; Peter and Otto, a gay couple struggling with their relationship; and the distinguished and doomed Jewish family the Landauers.…
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The Berlin Stories

Fiction by Christopher Isherwood

With a contribution by Armistead Maupin

The Berlin Stories is a book comprising two short novels by Christopher Isherwood: Goodbye to Berlin and The Last of Mr. Norris. The two novellas are set in Berlin in 1931, just as Adolf Hitler was moving into power. Berlin is portrayed by Isherwood during this transitional period of cafes and quaint avenues, grotesque nightlife and dreamers, and powerful mobs and millionaires. Sally Bowles is the protagonist who experiences her share of misadventures along with Mr.…
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A novel of adolescence, of family life among the New Poor, of atrocities witnessed at tea in the drawing room. A profound but not impartial book.

—Cyril Connolly
< Christopher Mattison Charles Reznikoff >