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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: 26 September 2021

Isherwood and Huxley

Isherwood and Huxley

The Novel as Mystic Fable

Chapter:
(p.121) 9 Isherwood and Huxley
Source:
The American Isherwood
Author(s):

Robert L. Caserio

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816683611.003.0009

This chapter examines the role played by the novel in Christopher Isherwood’s attitudes toward mysticism as well as his writing’s relation to Aldous Huxley. To this end, it considers the place of religion in Anglo-American modernism, with particular emphasis on G. R. S. Mead’s modernist journal The Quest, one of the transnational conduits whereby Eastern religions, including Vedanta, entered the background that nurtured Isherwood. Isherwood’s statements about his fiction’s relation to religion are not the whole story of the ties that his novels—and the novelistic genre itself—might have to mystical experience. This chapter also looks at Huxley’s hostility to the novel form and Isherwood’s 1980 book My Guru and His Disciple. Finally, it discusses the novelistic form’s relation to contemplation and to timelessness by offering a reading of Isherwood’s Down There on a Visit.

Keywords:   novel, Christopher Isherwood, mysticism, Aldous Huxley, religion, modernism, G. R. S. Mead, The Quest, My Guru and His Disciple, Down There on a Visit

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