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Liberation: Diaries Vol 3 [Hardcover]

Christopher Isherwood , Katherine Bucknell
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 30.00
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Book Description

3 May 2012

'A slip of a wild boy: with quick silver eyes,' as Virginia Woolf saw him in the 1930s, Christopher Isherwood journeyed and changed with his century, until, by the 1980s, he was celebrated as the finest prose writer in English and the Grand Old Man of Gay Liberation. In this final volume of his diaries, capstone of a million-word masterwork, he greets advancing age with poignant humour and an unquenchable appetite for the new; aches, illnesses, and diminishing powers are clues to a predicament still unfathomed. The mainstays of his mature contentment, his Hindu guru, Swami Prabhavananda and his long term companion, Don Bachardy, draw from him an unexpected high tide of joy and love.

Around his private religious and domestic routines orbit gifted friends both anonymous and infamous. Bachardy's burgeoning career pulled Isherwood into the 1970s art scene in Los Angeles, New York and London, where we meet Rauschenberg, Ruscha, and Warhol (serving foetid meat for lunch) as well as Hockney (adored) and Kitaj. Collaborating with Bachardy on scripts for their prize-winning Frankenstein and their Broadway fiasco, A Meeting by the River, extended ties in Hollywood and the theatre world.John Huston, Merchant and Ivory, John Travolta, John Voight, Elton John, David Bowie, Joan Didion, Armistead Maupin each take a turn through Isherwood's densely populated human comedy, sketched with both ruthlessness and benevolence against the background of the Vietnam War, the Energy Crisis, the Nixon, Carter and Reagan White Houses.

In his first book of this period, Kathleen and Frank, Isherwood unearthed the family demons that haunted his fugitive youth. When contemporaries began to die, he responded in Christopher and His Kind and My Guru and His Disciple with startling fresh truths about shared experiences. These are the most concrete and the most mysterious of his diaries, candidly revealing the fear of death that crowded in past Isherwood's fame, and showing how his life-long immersion in the day-to-day lifted him, paradoxically, toward transcendence.

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Liberation: Diaries Vol 3 + The Sixties: Diaries Volume Two 1960-1969: v. 2 + Christopher Isherwood Diaries Volume 1
Price For All Three: 69.85

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 928 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (3 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701184493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701184490
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 431,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Frank, funny and frequently poignant" (Good Book Guide)

"Sharp and often very funny...marvellous and marveling" (Peter Parker Spectator)

"Meticulously and lovingly edited by Katherine its best his prose still seems fresh and in the moment" (Spectator)

Book Description

Hilarious and often deeply moving, the final volume of Christopher Isherwood's extraordinary diaries chronicles the 1970s, with a preface by Edmund White

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars liberation 2 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What a read , just wonderful and because it is so easily read one is swept away to the Californian sunshine and life styles . the wondrous and interesting way Isherwood writes is captivating and so the book can be picked up at anytimie of the day or night and continue to read on without loosing the thread or gist of his lifestyle . just excellent
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5.0 out of 5 stars christopher isherwoods, third ad last diary 12 Oct 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
this last diary is an account of an end of a most interesting life the first and second diaries must be read to appreciate the drama and pathos of the all too human third
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Isherwood's Final Diaries 15 Nov 2012
By H. F. Corbin - Published on
Volume III of Christopher Isherwood's diaries covers the years 1970 to 1983; his last entry was on July 4 of that year. He died January 4, 1986 of prostate cancer. He continues writing mostly about the subjects he covered in Volume II-- I have not read Volume I-- his Hindu religion, his writings, his friends and enemies, his deep love for Don Bachardy, Barchardy's growing reputation as an artist in his own right and-- what many of us respect him for above all else-- his openness about his homosexuality (queerness he calls it) and his stand for gay rights as no other writer of his generation and stature was doing.

We may as well deal with the ugly first. Isherwood could make terrible comments about Jewish people ("Jewboy" and "worst kind of Jewishness", etc.), women (he does not hesitate to use the c--t word), the French ("I so dislike Frogs")and blacks to a lesser degree. In one of his entries, he writes "what a racist I am at heart." He is certainly honest about his prejudices and knew, as Edmund White points out in his "Preface" that one day these diaries would be published.

Mr. Isherwood knew a lot of writers, artists and actors and has opinions about all of them, supplying, often in a sentence or two what he thought of them: David Hockney, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote ("a wise little old child"), Edward Albee, Ingrid Bergman, Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Joan Didion, E. M. Forster, W. H. Auden, Leslie Caron, Rita Hayworth, Tony Richardson-- the list seems endless. He hates long hair and any kind of facial hair on men-- remember this is the 1970's when many of us grew beards and moustaches-- is obsessed with his weight-- weighing every day-- his diet, his consumption of alcohol, his physical ailments and, as he comes nearer to the end of his life, his own death. From his diary entry on August 27, 1976: "So now I`m seventy-two. . . "I think about death more and more--I prod myself into thinking about it; and always the thought brings me to the almost certainty that Swami [his guru] will be present with me, when it comes."

Isherwood apparently has no secrets about himself. He cannot change a tire but probably should learn how, he writes of having diarrhea (the s--ts), describes in detail a sex movie he sees in a New York theatre and lists the items available from a sex catalogue he received in the mail. He also records incidents of drinking too much and falling down on occasion.

Mr. Isherwood, on the other hand, writes with deep emotion about his love for Don Barchardy, Dobbin's Kitty-- the names and Isherwood and Barchardy gave to each other. "Don has been adorable beyond all words, lately." "How lucky I am to have Don." "I long to tell him how much I love him." "My only world is Don." And in one particularly moving passage, Don reminds Christopher that " you are my guru." Near the end of the diary, in his August 2, 1981 entry, Isherwood writes that "I must say I'm well aware that--despite all my complaints-- I know I'm traveling deluxe. There is more love in this house now than there're ever has been before."

Finally perhaps the reason Mr. Isherwood is loved by so many people is his very public stand with other gay people against the "Others." "I never feel at ease with any heterosexual man." An article in THE DAILY TELEGRAPH on August 7, 1970 was the first to say he is a homosexual. "I'm glad it did." He later makes it a point (p. 178) to tell all interviewers about his "queerness." He writes on December 23, 1976: "Perhaps the most moving experience was going down to the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop in the village and singing copies of my book (CHRISTOPHER AND HIS KIND), with a line of people, mostly quite young, stretching all the way down Christopher Street and around the corner. I had such a feeling that this is my tribe and I loved them."

I can think of no writer who has written with such honesty about every aspect of his life, the good, the bad, but, more importantly, the beautiful.
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