English-born US novelist. He lived in Germany from 1929–33 just before Hitler's rise to power, a period that inspired Mr Norris Changes Trains (1935) and Goodbye to Berlin (1939), creating the character of Sally Bowles, the basis of the musical Cabaret (1968). Returning to England, he collaborated with W H Auden in three verse plays.
England and Germany Isherwood was born in Disley, Cheshire, and educated at Cambridge University. After temporary employment as a private secretary and tutor, he went to Berlin. His first novel, All the Conspirators, was published in 1928, and was followed by The Memorial (1932). His next novel, Mr Norris Changes Trains, showed a considerable advance and established his reputation, consolidated by Goodbye to Berlin, stories of his life in the German capital towards the end of the period known as the Weimar Republic.
Collaborations with Auden From schooldays Isherwood had formed a close friendship with Auden. They collaborated on three plays, notable for their expressionist technique: The Dog Beneath the Skin (1935), The Ascent of F6 (1936), and On the Frontier (1938). In 1938 he went with Auden to China to write a book with him about conditions there, Journey to a War (1939).
California Returning from China by way of the USA, Isherwood decided to emigrate, and afterwards lived in California, becoming a US citizen in 1946. His interest in metaphysical studies allied him with the Vedanta Society in Los Angeles, and he collaborated in a translation of the Bhagavad-Gītā. He also worked as a scriptwriter for films. Novels from this period are Prater Violet (1945), The World in the Evening (1954), A Single Man (1964), and A Meeting by the River (1967).
MemoirsLions and Shadows (1938) and Christopher and his Kind (1977) are autobiographical works. Kathleen and Frank (1971) tells the story of his parents' love and marriage. Posthumously, in 2000, Lost Years: A Memoir 1945–1951 was published.
Isherwood, Christopher (William Bradshaw)
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