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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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Christopher Isherwood and Edward Upward

Christopher Isherwood and Edward Upward

(p.199) 14 Christopher Isherwood and Edward Upward
The American Isherwood

Benjamin Kohlmann

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter focuses on Christopher Isherwood’s friendship with fellow writer Edward Upward. According to the most familiar account of how Isherwood and Upward became friends, the two men shared a period of intense artistic creativity in the early and mid-1920s during which they collaborated on the stories about Mortmere (also known as “the Other Town”), a grotesque fantasy world they had invented during their school days at Repton. Isherwood went up to Cambridge in 1923, one year after Upward, and the frequently violent and sadistic stories about Mortmere came to be modeled increasingly on the academic cosmos of the university town and its caste of rich “Poshocrats.” This chapter reproduces the text of two letters that Upward sent to Isherwood in the summer of 1939 in response to the latter’s announcement of his conversion to pacifism and Vedanta, two systems of belief whose tenets were fundamentally at odds with Upward’s own ideological convictions.

Keywords:   friendship, Christopher Isherwood, Edward Upward, Mortmere, Cambridge, Poshocrats, letters, pacifism, Vedanta

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