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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, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 15 June 2021

A Phone Call by the River

A Phone Call by the River

Chapter:
(p.155) 11 A Phone Call by the River
Source:
The American Isherwood
Author(s):

Paul M. McNeil

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816683611.003.0011

This chapter offers a reading of Christopher Isherwood’s final novel, A Meeting by the River (1967), which explores the moral challenges he had glimpsed dimly between 1940 and 1951. In a letter from Oliver to Patrick, the reader is introduced to two English brothers. Oliver writes from Calcutta, where he lives in a Hindu monastery a few miles outside the city, on the bank of the Ganges. Patrick is in the United States on business, working on a film project in Los Angeles. Oliver’s conversion is at the heart of the story. His journal entries tell of the struggles he confronts as he strives to realize “the ideal of moksa.” They also record Oliver’s perception of Patrick’s “enlightenment.” Patrick’s letters, however, subvert this conventional reading altogether, telling a different story about a darker side of Vedanta. In particular, his musings on bisexuality and marriage fit into Isherwood’s larger, critical examination of Vedanta.

Keywords:   novel, Christopher Isherwood, A Meeting by the River, conversion, moksa, enlightenment, Vedanta, bisexuality, marriage

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