Christopher Isherwood Inside Out

Katherine Bucknell


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Penguin Books Ltd
20 June 2024
ISBN: 9780701186388
864 pages

From the publisher

'A first-rate biography of the man, the writer and the lover' DAVID HOCKNEY
'Bucknell's research is impressive and her judgements astute' GUARDIAN

An engrossing new biography of the man whose writings about 1930s Berlin made him famous. From the editor of Isherwood’s diaries and letters.

Christopher Isherwood rejected the life he was born to and set out to make a different one. Heir to an English estate, he flunked out of university, moved to Berlin, was driven through Europe by the Nazis, and circled the globe before settling in Hollywood.

There he adopted a new religion and continued to form the friendships – including an astounding number of romantic and sexual ones – through which he discovered himself.

Using a wealth of unpublished material, Christopher Isherwood Inside Out tells how the traumas of his father’s death in World War I and his failure to protect his German lover from the Nazis were healed by his life as a monk in the 1940s, enabling him to commit unflinchingly to a sexually open relationship in the 1950s, and to come out as a ‘grand old man’ of the gay rights movement in the 1970s.

With this new biography, enriched by unlimited access to Isherwood’s partner Don Bachardy, Katherine Bucknell shows how Christopher Isherwood achieved a uniquely inspiring personal life. He effected lasting change in our culture, through both his literary works and the way he lived.

‘The best biography I’ve ever read . . . Every page is full of surprises’ EDMUND WHITE

'It’s hard to imagine a better qualified candidate for this task than Katherine Bucknell' THE TIMES

'A fast-paced story of an extraordinary life and a broadly illuminating history of vast cultural changes’ EDWARD MENDELSON