A scant, mild-mannered memoir of Isherwood by literary chronicler Lehmann (Rupert Brooke, Three Literary Friendships),...

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CHRISTOPHER ISHERWOOD: A Personal Memoir

A scant, mild-mannered memoir of Isherwood by literary chronicler Lehmann (Rupert Brooke, Three Literary Friendships), stretching front Lehmann's first association with the writer in 1931 to Isherwood's death. At the urging of poet Stephen Spender, Lehmann ushered 28-year-old Christopher Isherwood's second novel, The Memorial. through publication at Leonard and Virginia Woolf's Hogarth Press. After a year of literary correspondence, Lehmann visited Isherwood in Berlin--and became permanently fascinated with the brilliant and playful young writer of Berlin Tales and Prater Violet (which became ""Cabaret""). Also Covered is Isherwood's flight from Nazi Germany with his lover Heinz and Isherwood's humiliating struggle to get Heinz a permanent visa (he eventually had to serve in the German army). Lehmann began to publish the peripatetic Isherwood's work in his magazine New Writing (though he reveals little about Isherwood's voice and vision), Isherwood's trip to China with W.H. Auden here becomes not only a culmination of the 30's b ut a turning point in a harmonious friendship; during the war, Isherwood moved to California and a different life. The correspondence between Lehmann and him grew briefer, finally petering out, so Lehmann is sketchy and second-hand about Isherwood's California residence. Of Isherwood's enduring love for Don Bacardy, he is glad; of his profound commitment to spiritual work with Swami Prabhavananda, he is mystified and uninterested--professing relief that it didn't seem to damage Isherwood's literary work. A pleasant but ultimately innocuous commemoration of a man who spoke so frankly and with such illumination on his own behalf (My Guru and His Disciple, etc.).

Pub Date: Feb. 29, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1988