My Guru and His Disciple
This title features with an introduction by Simon Callow. In 1939, as Europe approaches war, Isherwood, an instinctive pacifist, travels west to California, seeking a new set of beliefs to replace the failed Leftism of the thirties. There he meets Swami Prabhavananda, a Hindu monk, who will become his spiritual guide for the next thirty-seven years. Late-night drinking sessions, free love, and the glamour of writing for the Hollywood studios alternate with meditation, abstinence and the study of religious texts in a compelling tug of war between worldliness and holiness.
First published in 1980, Isherwood's overlooked last book is central to an understanding of his life and work.
Christopher Isherwood was born in 1904. He began to write at university and later moved to Berlin, where he gave English lessons to support himself. He witnessed first hand the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany and some of his best works, such as Mr. Norris Changes Trains and Goodbye to Berlin, draw on these experiences. He created the character of Sally Bowles, later made famous as the heroine of the musical Cabaret. Isherwood travelled with W.H Auden to China in the late 1930s before going with him to America in 1939. He died on 4 January 1986. His novel A Single Man was recently made into an award-winning film by Tom Ford, starring Colin Firth and Julianne Moore.