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Kathleen and Christopher

Kathleen and Christopher: Christopher Isherwood’s Letters to His Mother

Edited by Llsa Colletta
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Kathleen and Christopher
    Book Description:

    Edited and with an introduction by Lisa Coletta Kathleen and Christopher collects more than one hundred previously unpublished letters Christopher Isherwood wrote to his mother between 1935 and 1940. Composed while Isherwood was still a struggling writer, these letters offer a brilliant eyewitness account of Europe on the brink of war and an intimate look at the early career of a major literary figure.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9731-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. vii-xviii)
    Lisa Colletta

    In Christopher Isherwood’s idiosyncratic . memoir of his parents,Kathleen and Frank: The Autobiography of a Family,he writes that it took him a long time to come to terms with his mother’s influence on his life. For Isherwood, Kathleen embodied the past, and he had learned “to hate and fear the Past because it threatened to swallow his future” (10). He rebelled early against both the memory of his dead “hero-father” and the nostalgia and conventionality of his “demon” mother. Throughout his childhood, Isherwood’s father represented unattainable perfection, becoming a mythical figure used by a tradition-bound mother to reproach...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-1)
  5. 1935 Copenhagen—Brussels—Amsterdam—Sintra, Portugal
    (pp. 3-41)

    Isherwood and Heinz are living in Copenhagen in 1935, and in January W. H. Auden visits them in order to work with Isherwood onThe Dog beneath the Skin,which is published by Faber and Faber in May. The Hogarth Press publishesMr Norris Changes Trainsand the U. S. edition (published with the titleThe Last of Mr. Norris) is published by William Morrow. Later in the year, Isherwood signs a new contract with Methuen and works on “A Berlin Diary” and “The Nowaks.” As the political situation becomes increasingly disturbing—Hitler introduces conscription and Italy invades Ethiopia—Isherwood...

  6. 1936 Sintra, Portugal—Ostende—Brussels
    (pp. 43-85)

    Auden and Isherwood’s playThe Dog beneath the Skinopens at the Westminster Theatre in London, and in the spring Auden goes to Portugal to work with Isherwood onThe Ascent of F6, which is published later in the year by Faber and Faber. Despite domestic upheaval, Isherwood finishes a draft of “Sally Bowles” and works onLions and Shadows.He decides to abandonPaul is Aloneand returns to work on The Lost, which will eventually becomeGoodbye to Berlin.The living situation in Portugal is not ideal, and Spender and Hyndman go to Spain in support of the...

  7. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  8. 1937 Brussels—Luxembourg—Dover
    (pp. 87-96)

    This is an extremely traumatic year for Isherwood. He is plagued by guilt that his friends are all going to Spain, and he and Auden meet in Paris as Auden heads off to do his bit in the Spanish civil war. Isherwood doesn’t do much new writing, but he attends the rehearsals in London for TheAscent of F6,which premieres at the Mercury Theatre in February. Later in the year, he works with Auden in Dover on the playOn the Frontier,and he finishesLions and Shadows.The Hogarth Press publishedSally Bowles,which would later be included...

  9. 1938 Paris—Marseilles—Djibouti—Ceylon—Singapore— Hong Kong—Canton—Hankow—Shanghai—“Empress of Asia”—Dover—Brussels
    (pp. 97-119)

    I sherwood and Auden go to China to writeJourney to a War,and most of the year is spent in activities relating to this book, althoughLions and Shadowsis published by the Hogarth Press in March. When the two are in China, German troops enter Austria, and Hitler declares the union of the two countries. On their way back from China, Auden and Isherwood stop in New York. Europe is speeding toward war as Hitler makes plans to annex the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia. In September, Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, and Mussolini meet in Munich to partition Czechoslovakia. Britain...

  10. 1939 New Haven, Connecticut—New York City— Grand Canyon—Hollywood—Santa Monica
    (pp. 121-162)

    During this momentous year,Good-bye to Berlinis published by the Hogarth Press in England and by Random House in the United States, andJourney to a Warcomes out from Faber and Faber. Auden and Isherwood sail for New York in January. The Republicans surrender in Spain, ending the Spanish civil war, and Hitler divides the remainder of Czechoslovakia. Germany invades Poland on September 1, and England declares war on Germany two days later. Isherwood is unhappy in New York; Auden seems at home immediately. In May, Isherwood leaves New York for California. He and a young...

  11. Editor’s Notes
    (pp. 163-178)
  12. Index
    (pp. 179-186)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 187-187)