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Liberation Diaries, Volume Three: 1970-1983 Paperback – 3 Dec 2013
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"Compulsively readable...a testament to his connections to the literati and Hollywood glitterati...a fitting finale to a fascinating life"--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Christopher Isherwood continues to perform open-heart surgery on himself, without anaesthestic, and with one beady eye on the audience...a rare treat."--The Guardian
"Isherwood proves a captivating, honest diarist, his entries rich with reflection and gossip."--Booklist
"Unique literary archives...Ultimately LIBERATION is a real-time gallery of men in love at a time when the world was nowhere near catching up with them."--Huffington Post
"But the gold mine of Isherwood work has been the posthumous publication of three huge diaries amounting to almost 3,000 pages. Comprehensively and lovingly edited and annotated by Katherine Bucknell, these volumes give us the most detailed portrait of the writer..."--San Francisco Chronicle
Compulsively readable a testament to his connections to the literati and Hollywood glitterati a fitting finale to a fascinating life --Publishers Weekly, Starred Review"
Alongside sharp and often very funny assessments of those Isherwood knew, the diaries also record a wealth of domestic detail giving a richly textured sense of what it was like to live in California during this period of social change. --Jonathan Mirsky, The Spectator (A Book of the Year)"
Christopher Isherwood continues to perform open-heart surgery on himself, without anaesthestic, and with one beady eye on the audience...a rare treat. --The Guardian"
Isherwood proves a captivating, honest diarist, his entries rich with reflection and gossip. --Booklist"
Unique literary archives...Ultimately LIBERATION is a real-time gallery of men in love at a time when the world was nowhere near catching up with them. --Huffington Post"
From the Back Cover
In this final volume of Christopher Isherwood's diaries, the celebrated writer greets advancing age with poignant humor and an unquenchable appetite for the new. Isherwood deepens his study of Hinduism, writes his final books, and immerses himself in the vibrant creative scenes of the 1970s. With his long-term companion, Don Bachardy, Isherwood delves into the art worlds of Los Angeles, New York, and London, where he meets Rauschenberg, Ruscha, Warhol, and Hockney. Collaborating with Bachardy on scripts for Broadway and Hollywood, he encounters John Huston, Merchant and Ivory, John Travolta, David Bowie, Jon Voight, Armistead Maupin, Elton John, and Joan Didion. This volume is a densely populated human comedy, sketched with both ruthlessness and benevolence against the background of the Vietnam War, the energy crisis, and the Nixon, Carter, and Reagan White Houses. The final installment of Isherwood's masterwork reveals a man candidly fearful of his approaching death, and yet engaged in the vitality and energy of daily life.See all Product description
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As I near the end of this document, I become a bit bored with his obsessions, particularly with death, since he knows he is going to experience a slow decline from prostate cancer (one of his biggest fears). At the same time, he is able to view his life in a larger context—he’s kept such copious records of it—and make some rather stoic and pithy statements. “I’m not in a good state. Death fears—that’s to say, pangs of foreboding—recur often. They seem to be part of a quite normal physical condition; the pangs of a dying animal, thrilling with dread of the unknown” (686). He writes these words on October 23, 1983, a little over two years before he dies. In spite of the struggle of his last years—all chronicled in this tome—he often lives with a joie de vivre that most of us only hope to experience a few times ever.
This final volume of the diaries reflects the aging process of Isherwood, marked by two fierce struggles: one for the acceptance of death, according to the teachings of his religion and his swami; the other, of not complying with the degradation of senility, which Isherwood knew could only be fought through his commitment to literature and writing. In the final pages of the book, when the author's life was already touched by illness and the difficulties and sufferings from old age, Isherwood continues to have ideas and projects for new books, and reproaches himself for yielding to what he called laziness of old age instead of working.
Liberation allows us to follow the process of writing some of the key books of the author, including Christopher And His Kind and My Guru And His Disciple, as well as its activity as an icon for the gay liberation movement, not only because he was the rare out public figures at the time, but also because he was in a stable relationship that was lived openly and without subterfuge.
Furthermore, there is always reasonable doses gossip; Isherwood lived - and slept in the biblical sense of the term - with some of the greatest figures of culture, music and the visual arts, of the ballet (he had a special predilection for young dancers, strong and beautiful) as of the cinema (many aspiring actors frequented his house, as weel as some of the biggest stars in Hollywood), and of course some of the great writers of his century (Auden and Forster were his personal friends for life).
But what is most striking in this diaries, is a ruthless frankness that always begins with himself (and from which only escapes with bonhomie, Don Bachardy, and only in this third volume), a perfect and elegant writing, and finally one of the most intense and poignant love stories.