Isherwood decided late in his life that he had a moral obligation to renounce the self-censorship that marked his early novels, specifically the excision of any hint of his homosexuality. Accordingly, in Christopher and His Kind he recounts his experiences as a young gay man enticed by the liberated atmosphere of Weimar Berlin into a quest for sexual and intellectual emancipation, and argues that his homosexuality, far from a marginal private shame to be suppressed, was a central element in his human and creative development, an identity he cherished and shared with many others "my tribe", "my kind" , with whom he felt a special kinship. This remarkably candid autobiography was, in Isherwood's view, the way to discharge the obligation he felt due to "his kind", and thus make his own contribution to the cause of gay liberation. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Christopher and His Kind edition cover. Christopher Isherwood. Journey to a War , with W.
Christopher and His Kind is an intriguing slice of autobiography. It covers ten years in the writer's life-from , when Isherwood left England to spend a week in Berlin and decided to stay there indefinitely, to the beginning of , when he arrived in New York to start a life in the States. The book revealingly contrasts fact with fiction-the real people Isherwood met in Germany with the portraits of them in his two Berlin novels, who then appeared again, fictionalized to an even greater degree, in I Am a Camera and Cabaret. But one does not need to be familiar with his body of work to appreciate the powerful and compelling story he tells here. Isherwood left Berlin in , after Hitler came to power. The characters in the book include W.
You know, you really are a tourist, to your bones. In the Thirties he appeared to many as the potential interpreter of the human predicament in a socially and historically significant period, and he was still considered as a promising writer long after he had published what was to be his best writing. He played a prominent part among a group of writers who did not actually form a movement but were animated by the same romantic urge to infuse literature with a revolutionary spirit. Isherwood himself was seen as a rebel who had put a stop to his bourgeois education and broken with English middle-class life. However, in the light of his work it is difficult to interpret his revolt as part of a wider and more significant movement. This is a fact which I should not comment upon if it did not account to some extent for the limitations of his art and if Isherwood the narrator did not play so prominent a part in his fiction. In this respect Lions and Shadows is a revealing document as far as the man and the artist are concerned.
What most impressed the first readers of this memoir, however, was the candor with which he describes his life in gay Berlin of the s and his struggles to save his companion, a German man named Heinz, from the Nazis. An engrossing and dramatic story and a fascinating glimpse into a little-known world, Christopher and His Kind remains one of Isherwood's greatest achievements. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read.