The Sixties: Diaries, Volume 2: 1960-1969 (US Edition)

The Sixties: Diaries, Volume 2: 1960-1969 (US Edition)

Christopher Isherwood, Katherine Bucknell

Language: English

Pages: 874

ISBN: 2:00249470

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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.

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was about to add, “Just the same, I like Neil”; but, God, what a meaningless word “like” is! You can say you love people or that you, temporarily, desire them. The rest is really mutual convenience—are you going my way? Do we both want to get drunk, or double date, or see that play or movie, or vote for Johnson, or visit San Simeon, or talk about Proust—all right, then, we’ll do it together and call ourselves friends. And if we keep going each other’s way over a long period, well, something else

which looks quite empty, except for several bicycles and two mobiles made of sun spectacles. And the Synanon building, for sale now. And the miniature court of shacks covered with tar paper printed to resemble brick, where the old man used to take out his false teeth to give blowjobs. There is still some sort of clairvoyant doing business on the pier, in or near the place where I went with Vernon and Chaplin and the Huxleys to have our handwriting read.775 I stood a long while watching a young

a View (1986), A Handful of Dust (1988), Mrs. Brown (1997), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and subsequent James Bond films, Shakespeare in Love (1998, Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress), Tea With Mussolini (2000), Chocolat (2000), Ladies in Lavender (2004), Iris (2001), and Notes on a Scandal (2006). DePry, Bert and Bess. Vedanta devotees. He was a successful businessman and President of the Vedanta Society of Southern California throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s. Depuytren’s

xxxiii, 425, 432, 436, 446, 452, 465, 519, 556, 566, 569; accounts 6, 7; inheritance from mother’s estate 51, 59, 60, 79, 134, 152, 159, 255; British taxes 91, 105, 106, 108; advance for Down There on a Visit 159; teaching income 159, 336; never involved in stock market 193; costs of improvements to Santa Monica house 201, 204; merger of finances with Don’s 201, 211; savings 242, 372, 375; purchase of duplex buildings as tax write-off 499 –500, 519, 596; pays off mortgage 535; income from “The

schoolboy memory of how it felt to be going to get your hair cut, the connection with holidays and the excitements of shopping and the theater. London is full of memories like this, for me. They hang around in odd corners, just as smells do. Don had some of his fashion drawing to do in the morning. This is the season of the “collections.” We met Morgan for lunch at the Royal [College] of Art.211 Morgan seemed tired. He only brightens when talking about love-lust; it is characteristic of him that

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