Mr Isherwood Changes Trains: Christopher Isherwood and the search for the ‘home self‘ by Victor Marsh
ISBN: 9780980712056 | 310pp. Paperback and eBook
Cover: Christopher Isherwood by Don Bachardy
British expatriate writer Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986) moved to America prior to the Second World War and lived more than half his life in California, writing for the Hollywood studios. Famous initially for the stories he wrote during the rise of the Nazis, he attracted a second wave of interest in the 1970s with his ‘out’ autobiography ‘Christopher and His Kind’. But much less is known about Isherwood’s writing during his forty years as a student of a guru from the Ramakrishna Order.
In ‘Mr Isherwood Changes Trains’, Victor Marsh interrogates the assumptions and prejudices that have combined to disparage the sincerity of Isherwood’s religious life. Marsh elucidates those features of Vedanta philosophy that enabled Isherwood to integrate the various aspects of his dharma: his vocation as a writer, and a spirituality not predicated on the repudiation of his sexuality. Marsh details the heartfelt search for a ‘home-self’ that found expression in later works such as ‘My Guru and his disciple’ and in what is seen as Isherwood’s finest novel, ‘A single man’.
‘In this original reappraisal, Victor Marsh makes a convincing case for the centrality of the spiritual in Isherwood’s life. In addition, his interrogation of the contingencies that have accumulated to separate homosexuality from spirituality strikes me as being of more general and profound importance …’ — Professor Stephen Muecke, School of English, Media and Performing Arts, University of New South Wales.
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