Catalogue


Auden and Isherwood : the Berlin years /
Norman Page.
imprint
New York : St. Martin's Press, c1998.
description
x, 220 p. : ill.
ISBN
0312211732
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
imprint
New York : St. Martin's Press, c1998.
isbn
0312211732
catalogue key
2194813
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Lambda Literary Awards, USA, 1999 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1998-04-20:
Although the revival of Cabaret makes Page's study timely, the opportunity is mishandled. His visit to the Berlin years of W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood reads like a series of rambling academic lectures. Source notes clot the narrative, pronoun references are often vague, and the detailed survey of 1928-1933 urban topography further erodes the narrative. Friends and, briefly, lovers, the two writers escaped to Weimar Berlin to sample its gay clubs and rent boys. Auden, who would visit during holidays, found much inspiration but little of literary value in the sexual turn-ons of the scene. Isherwood would casually mask his experience in the novellas collected as The Berlin Stories (1935-1939), which Page (A.E. Housman) calls "too discreet, too evasive, too readily disposed to encode and displace, to make use of what must have been wonderfully colourful material." That Isherwood's stories were autobiographical fiction rather than autobiography and were written for a more censorious generation, yet inspired the play I Am a Camera and the musical Cabaret, seems less significant to Page than their less-than-complete exposure of the depression-driven daydream that Berlin seemed to be before the rise of Hitler. From Isherwood's 1977 memoir, Christopher and His Kind, Page quotes the author's rueful confession, "Seldom have wild oats been sown more prudently." This book reflects that disappointment. Photos not seen by PW. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 1998-06:
Berlin in the late 1920sÄbefore Hitler's power surgeÄwas acknowledged to be a city of sexual freedom that was also open to all forms of art and artists. Wystan Auden and Christopher Isherwood were two of those artists who visited Berlin and stayed longer than intended. It wasn't simply that Berlin was accepting of sexual ambiguityÄand in any case, Auden and Isherwood were not ambiguous in their homosexuality. More importantly, as Page (emeritus, modern English literature, Univ. of Nottingham) makes clear, the city's glittering decadence and aura of untrammeled experimentation fostered Auden's poetry and even more so Isherwood's prose. Page makes his case convincingly by devoting a section of his book to the boy-bars, streets, neighborhoods, houses of Berlin, and to the subculture of transvestism. Page also discusses other personalities operative in Berlin from approximately 1929 to 1933, most notably Magnus Hirschfeld who founded the Institute for Sexology. The final two sections deal with the social impact of the Weimar cinema and the specific writings of each man, with a greater emphasis on Isherwood's autobiographical works. Entertaining and insightful reading; highly recommended.ÄRobert Kelly, Fort Wayne Community Schs., IN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 1999-04:
This self-described "experiment in biography" describes the relatively short time Auden and Isherwood spent in Berlin. Both men were there periodically from the late 1920s until Hitler's assumption of power in 1933. They found refuge from the oppressive environment of interwar England in the turbulent cultural life of the Weimar Republic as well as in Berlin's gay bars filled with ready sexual partners. Page (emeritus, Univ. of Nottingham, UK) introduces the reader to the fascinating people the two writers met, including sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld, and he provides an informative survey of Weimar Cinema. Page's concluding discussion on the effect of Berlin on Auden and Isherwood's writing is less compelling. A number of translation and grammar errors shake one's confidence in Page's accuracy: early in the book he translates Donnerstag (Thursday) as "Wednesday"; further on, Der blaue Engel becomes Die blaue Engel. Page's annoying habit of bringing up subjects "which will be discussed later" suggests that the book was rather hastily thrown together. Those who know Berlin's history well or have read Isherwood extensively will not find much new in this account. But despite these shortcomings, the subject matter is so fascinating that the book remains enjoyable. Extensive undergraduate, graduate, and general collections. R. D. Tobin; Whitman College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"The valuable service Mr. Page performs in his short, readable book is to run the historical-cultural camera backwards . . . restoring the reality of what the two young Englishmen saw and did." -- Washington Times
"The valuable service Mr. Page performs in his short, readable book is to run the historical-cultural camera backwards . . . restoring the reality of what the two young Englishmen saw and did."-- Washington Times
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, April 1998
Library Journal, June 1998
Choice, April 1999
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Description for Bookstore
Like Paris in the '20s, Berlin in the early thirties was one of the most exciting cities in the world. As the Weimar Republic sputtered to a close and war loomed on the horizon, the city was a magnet for talented writers and artists. It was in this now-vanished time and place that W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood lived, wrote and slept together. Norman Page tells the story of how these years shaped these important writers and, in doing so, illuminates a bygone era.
Unpaid Annotation
As the Weimar Republic sputtered to a close and war loomed on the horizon, Berlin in the early thirties was a magnet for talented writers and artists. It was in this now-vanished time and place that W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood lived, wrote and slept together. Norman Page tells the story of how these years shaped these important writers and, in doing so, illuminates a bygone era. Photos.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Looking for Berlin
Two Young Englishmen
Past and Present
Homes and Haunts
Cultures and Subcultures
Death of a Daydream
Berlin: Faces
Anna Muthesius
John Layard
Magnus Hirschfeld
Francis Turville-Petre
Gerald Hamilton
The Other Camera: Aspects of Weimar Cinema
Writing about Berlin
Epilogue: Goodbye to Berlin
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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