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The American Isherwood$
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James J. Berg and Chris Freeman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780816683611

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816683611.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

Down Where on a Visit?

Down Where on a Visit?

Isherwood’s Mythology of Self

(p.139) 10 Down Where on a Visit?
The American Isherwood

Rebecca Gordon Stewart

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines how Christopher Isherwood manipulates his creation of a “mythology of self” in the 1962 novel Down There on a Visit. In the 1950s, as Isherwood continued to struggle with elements of The World in the Evening, he notes in his “Writing Notebook” that he has a new idea for a story, one that would turn out to be Down There on a Visit. An analysis of Isherwood’s unpublished notes alongside the final novel reveals that many of the themes that formed his original plan of rewriting Dante’s journey through Hell and Purgatory as narrated in The Divine Comedy in fact have remained at the forefront of Down There on a Visit. This chapter considers Down There on a Visit’s connection to both The Divine Comedy and Joris-Karl Huysmans’s novel Là-bas in terms of style and themes.

Keywords:   novel, Christopher Isherwood, mythology of self, Down There on a Visit, Dante, The Divine Comedy, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Là-bas, Hell, Purgatory

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