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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

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Listings for Author:  

Christopher Isherwood


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Christopher Isherwood : [unknown]

'Sydney shaped Larkin's taste skilfully, leading him away from J.C. Powys and towards Llewelyn and T.F., towards James Joyce with no expectation that he would enjoy him, and towards poets who would remain favourites all his life: Hardy, Christina Rossetti and A.E. Housman. In late 1939, when Larkin discovered T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, Edward Upward and Christopher Isherwood, Sydney also encouraged him - continuing, as he had always done, to make reading seem an independent activity, only tenuously linked to schoolwork.'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Philip Larkin      Print: Book


Christopher Isherwood : All the Conspirators

'Although Larkin had first read them [Auden and Isherwood] at KHS [his school], it wasn't until he reached Oxford that he began fully to appreciate their irony and ebullient detachment (he described Isherwood's first novel, "All the Conspirators", as being like "life photographed"). Eventually Larkin would praise Auden as "the first 'modern' poet, in that he could employ modern properties unselfconsciously". Reading him in St John's during his first term he felt: "Auden rose like a sun. It is impossibly to convey the intensity of the delight felt by a ... mind reared on 'Drake's Drum', 'Westminster Bridge' and 'Ode to a Nightingale, when a poet is found speaking a language thrilling and beautiful, and describing things so near to everyday life that their once-removedness strikes like a strange cymbal. We entered the land, books in hand, like travellers with a guidebook... 'Poems', 'The Orators' and 'Look, Stranger!' seemed three fragments of revealed truth... To read 'The Journal of an Airman' was like being allowed half an hour's phone conversation with God".'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Philip Larkin      Print: Book


Christopher Isherwood : Mr Norris Changes Trains

Passages transcribed in E. M. Forster's Commonplace Book (1935) include (from chapter 15 of Christopher Isherwood, Mr Norris Changes Trains): 'Remorse is not for the elderly. When it comes to them it is not purging or uplifting, but merely degrading and wretched, like a bladder disease.'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Edward Morgan Forster      Print: Book


Christopher Isherwood : Goodbye to Berlin

'I had by this time [his mid-teens] also struck up a friendship with a young, unemployed, linotype operator, six or seven years older than myself. He lived in a street at the back of the Lodging House, was a member of the Left book Club, and lent me (among much else) his copy of Orwell's "The Road to Wigan Pier". Somehow, too, I came upon the poems of Auden, Spender, Day-Lewis, MacNeice; Isherwood's "Goodbye to Berlin".'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Charles Causley      Print: Book


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