Isherwood on Writing: The Complete Lectures in California

James J. Berg, editor
Published in 2022
by University of Minnesota Press

In this revised edition first published in 2007, scholar and editor James J. Berg introduces readers to a poignant series of lectures Christopher Isherwood delivered at California universities in the late 1950s and early 1960s titled “A Writer and His World.” The series captures Isherwood at a crucial time in his writing life as he turned from fiction to memoir and reflects on the novels he wrote in the 1930s and hints at new works to come in the 1960s and 1970s, such as his novel A Single Man and his memoirs Kathleen and Frank and Christopher and His Kind. Isherwood discusses techniques of composition and characterization, as well as his work in the film industry, his working relationship with W. H. Auden, and his literary friendships with E. M. Forster, Aldous Huxley, Virginia Woolf, and others. This updated edition also contains a long-lost conclusion to the second lecture, published for the first time, which includes a discussion of his best-known novel, A Single Man, and his final novel, A Meeting By the River. As Berg writes in the introduction, these lectures of Isherwood, who would become known as one of the fathers of modern gay literature, present “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.”  

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