The Sixties: Diaries, Volume 2: 1960-1969 (US Edition)
Christopher Isherwood, Katherine Bucknell
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Edited and introduced by Katherine Bucknell. Foreword by Christopher Hitchens.
This second volume of Christopher Isherwood's remarkable diaries opens on his fifty-sixth birthday, as the fifties give way to the decade of social and sexual revolution. Isherwood takes the reader from the bohemian sunshine of Southern California to a London finally swinging free of post-war gloom, to the racy cosmopolitanism of New York and to the raw Australian outback. He charts his ongoing quest for spiritual certainty under the guidance of his Hindu guru, and he reveals in reckless detail the emotional drama of his love for the American painter Don Bachardy, thirty years his junior and struggling to establish his own artistic identity.
The diaries are crammed with wicked gossip and probing psychological insights about the cultural icons of the time—Francis Bacon, Richard Burton, Leslie Caron, Marianne Faithfull, David Hockney, Mick Jagger, Hope Lange, W. Somerset Maugham, John Osborne, Vanessa Redgrave, Tony Richardson, David O. Selznick, Igor Stravinsky, Gore Vidal, and many others.
But the diaries are most revealing about Isherwood himself—his fiction (including A Single Man and Down There on a Visit), his film writing, his college teaching, and his affairs of the heart. He moves easily from Beckett to Brando, from arthritis to aggression, from Tennessee Williams to foot powder, from the opening of Cabaret on Broadway (which he skipped) to a close analysis of Gide.
killer can be found!815 No—nobody is any sicker than usual (which is sick, all right); it’s just that the pot is being stirred. What comes to the surface has always been there. Julie Harris, whom I saw last night at Lamont Johnson’s, seems sadder than ever—forlorn, guilty, talking about her “infidelities”— almost a fit sister for poor old Jo. But both of them are tough inside. June 19. Don got home more than a week ago, on the 10th. I have never known him, or any other human being, manage to
talk to the Lederers’ young son, who was upstairs in his room with comic books all over the floor, and who showed me the rib of a whale, and a scale model of some prehistoric animal. Hope Lange and Glenn Ford were there; Glenn very kissy, as usual. I’m sure I talked a lot of crap. But the evening was a success, both Don and I agree. At least—and this is saying quite a lot in regard to such evenings—it didn’t leave a nasty taste in my mouth. Thinking over it from a Proustian point of view, I
glorious weather, yesterday and today were smoggy and sorrowful. This morning, Dr. Haas and two of his colleagues from UCLA came back to see me. They have capitulated; I get my money. And we planned three readings for March, under the heading, “The Voices of the Novel.”148 My general line will be that a writer can be judged to quite a large extent by his tone of voice—just as you already form a judgement of someone, rightly or wrongly, by merely listening to his voice on the phone. The old
Wisconsin. He attended the University of Chicago, lived in France in the 1920s, partly in Paris, and travelled in Europe and England. Afterwards he lived in New York. Early in his career he wrote poetry and reviews, later turning to fiction. His best-known works are The Pilgrim Hawk (1940) and Apartment in Athens (1945). Wescott was President of the American Academy of Arts and Letters from 1957 to 1961. His longterm companion was Monroe Wheeler, although each had other lovers. In 1949, Wescott
my trouble. I can’t. It’s as unthinkable, and as possible, as the H-bomb. But I really opened this book today because there’s something I have to discuss with myself—a problem connected with my novel. All this time I have been revising it, and yesterday I actually gave the rewritten version of “Mr. Lancaster” to the typist. Edward hasn’t seen it, but Don read it and as Don disliked the first version—the only part of the book he did dislike—I was delighted when he liked the revision so much and