My book World
I'VE MADE IT MY GOAL to read the entire oeuvre of late British-American author, Christopher Isherwood, over a twelve-month period. This profile constitutes the twenty-third in a series of twenty-four.
In October of 1979, these two men who were longtime companions produced material for this art book with pages of twelve by nine inches. Isherwood wrote text for each day of the month, and Bachardy produced thirty-two portraits of their friends or associates. The text is not coordinated in any way with the drawings, nor should it be. This is one of print run of 3,000 copies, and much of the text repeats or is a variation on material that Isherwood has already covered in either his diaries or other contemporary books, such as Kathleen and Frank, a memoir of his parents.
“The beginning of October is a joyful, hopeful, inspiring time of the year for me—it always has been. For me, born so late in the summer, autumn is my spring. This is the season which I associate with fresh work-projects in their earliest, most creative phase—the phase of discovering what the project is really about, rather than how I can execute it” (8).
“Since 1973, I’ve been gradually reading through the Marchand edition of Byron’s Letters and Journals, volume by volume, as they are published. Now I’ve nearly finished volume nine, which covers October 1821 to September 1822” (15).
“There are students who are doing term-papers or these about my work or the work of my friends. They expect me to drop everything and answer pages of questions, instead of themselves looking for the answers in the library. All right, I sympathize with their laziness. But, too often, they make the crudest of all mistakes; they think they can flatter me into helping them by claiming, ‘I’ve read everything you’ve written’—a statement which could only be true of maybe twenty people in the Unites States” (17). And I’m now one of those twenty (surely more by now)! Frankly, I wouldn’t tell an author such a thing but would hope my questions or our discussion would reflect that I had read all his books.
NEXT TIME: New Yorker Fiction 2016