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Christopher Isherwood

Data de nascimento: 26. Agosto 1904
Data de falecimento: 4. Janeiro 1986
Outros nomes:Քրիսթոֆեր Իշերվուդ,کریستوفر ایشروود

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Cristopher Isherwood , de seu nome completo Christopher William Bradshaw-Isherwood nasceu perto de Stockport, Inglaterra, mas emigrou para os Estados Unidos da América em 1939 tendo-se naturalizado como cidadão norte-americano em 1946.

Foi um reputado escritor reconhecido pelas suas obras relacionadas com Berlim, para onde foi atraído na juventude devido à relativa liberdade sexual que se vivia na cidade nos anos pré-guerra, como Mr. Norris Changes Trains e um conjunto de contos com o título Adeus a Berlim , que foram fonte de inspiração para a peça I Am a Camera de John Van Druten e posteriormente para o musical, depois passado a filme, Cabaret, Adeus Berlim.

Christopher Isherwood conheceu Don Bachardy em outubro de 1952, na praia de Will Rogers em [Los Angeles]], quando tinha 48 anos e Bachardy tinha apenas 18 anos. Permaneceram juntos até a morte de Isherwood em 1986, como um casal abertamente homossexual , que recebia em sua casa, nas colinas de Santa Monica, personagens famosos do mundo do cinema, da literatura e das artes .

Citações Christopher Isherwood

„As a homosexual, he had been wavering between embarrassment and defiance.“

— Christopher Isherwood
Context: As a homosexual, he had been wavering between embarrassment and defiance. He became embarrassed when he felt that he was making a selfish demand for his individual rights at a time when only group action mattered. He became defiant when he made the treatment of the homosexual a test by which every political party and government must be judged. His challenge to each one of them was: "All right, we've heard your liberty speech. Does that include us or doesn't it?" The Soviet Union had passed this test with honors when it recognized the private sexual rights of the individual, in 1917. But, in 1934, Stalin's government had withdrawn this recognition and made all homosexual acts punishable by heavy prison sentences. It had agreed with the Nazis in denouncing homosexuality as a form of treason to the state. The only difference was that the Nazis called it "sexual Bolshevism" and the Communists "Fascist perversion." Christopher — like many of his friends, homosexual and heterosexual — had done his best to minimize the Soviet betrayal of its own principles. After all, he had said to himself, anti-homosexual laws exist in most capitalist countries, including England and the United States. Yes — but if Communists claim that their system is juster than capitalism, doesn't that make their injustice to homosexuals less excusable and their hypocrisy even viler? He now realized that he must dissociate himself from the Communists, even as a fellow traveler. He might, in certain situations, accept them as allies but he could never regard them as comrades. He must never again give way to embarrassment, never deny the rights of his tribe, never apologize for its existence, never think of sacrificing himself masochistically on the altar of that false god of the totalitarians, the Greatest Good of the Greatest Number — whose priests are alone empowered to decide what "good" is. p. 334

„Horror is always aware of its cause; terror never is. That is precisely what makes terror terrifying.“

— Christopher Isherwood
Context: Horror is always aware of its cause; terror never is. That is precisely what makes terror terrifying. Great English Short Stories (1957), selected and introduced by Isherwood, p. 267 <!-- [Laurel TM 674623] -->

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„He might, in certain situations, accept them as allies but he could never regard them as comrades.“

— Christopher Isherwood
Context: As a homosexual, he had been wavering between embarrassment and defiance. He became embarrassed when he felt that he was making a selfish demand for his individual rights at a time when only group action mattered. He became defiant when he made the treatment of the homosexual a test by which every political party and government must be judged. His challenge to each one of them was: "All right, we've heard your liberty speech. Does that include us or doesn't it?" The Soviet Union had passed this test with honors when it recognized the private sexual rights of the individual, in 1917. But, in 1934, Stalin's government had withdrawn this recognition and made all homosexual acts punishable by heavy prison sentences. It had agreed with the Nazis in denouncing homosexuality as a form of treason to the state. The only difference was that the Nazis called it "sexual Bolshevism" and the Communists "Fascist perversion." Christopher — like many of his friends, homosexual and heterosexual — had done his best to minimize the Soviet betrayal of its own principles. After all, he had said to himself, anti-homosexual laws exist in most capitalist countries, including England and the United States. Yes — but if Communists claim that their system is juster than capitalism, doesn't that make their injustice to homosexuals less excusable and their hypocrisy even viler? He now realized that he must dissociate himself from the Communists, even as a fellow traveler. He might, in certain situations, accept them as allies but he could never regard them as comrades. He must never again give way to embarrassment, never deny the rights of his tribe, never apologize for its existence, never think of sacrificing himself masochistically on the altar of that false god of the totalitarians, the Greatest Good of the Greatest Number — whose priests are alone empowered to decide what "good" is. p. 334

„The Nazis hated culture itself, because it is essentially international and therefore subversive of nationalism.“

— Christopher Isherwood
Context: The Nazis hated culture itself, because it is essentially international and therefore subversive of nationalism. What they called Nazi culture was a local, perverted, nationalistic cult, by which a few major artists and many minor ones were honored for their Germanness, not their talent. p. 65

„Its short history is a fever-chart of migrations“

— Christopher Isherwood
Context: California is a tragic country — like Palestine, like every Promised Land. Its short history is a fever-chart of migrations — the land rush, the gold rush, the oil rush, the movie rush, the Okie fruit-picking rush, the wartime rush to the aircraft factories — followed, in each instance, by counter-migrations of the disappointed and unsuccessful, moving sorrowfully homeward. "Los Angeles", p. 159

„The images which remained in the memory are not in themselves terrible or rigorous“

— Christopher Isherwood
Context: The images which remained in the memory are not in themselves terrible or rigorous: they are of boot-lockers, wooden desks, lists on boards, name-tags in clothes — yes, the name pre-eminently; the name which in a sense makes you nameless, less individual rather than more so: Bradshaw-Isherwood, C. W. in its place on some alphabetical list; the cold daily, hourly reminder that you are not the unique, the loved, the household’s darling, but just one among many. I suppose that this loss of identity is really much of the painfulness which lies at the bottom of what is called Homesickness; it is not Home that one cries for but one’s home-self. As quoted in Isherwood : A Life (2004) by Peter Parker, pp. 40-41; this reminiscence is from the first draft of the biographical study Isherwood did of his parents (Huntington CI 1082: 81). The version published in Kathleen and Frank (1971), chapter 15, p. 285 differs slightly.

„The only difference was that the Nazis called it "sexual Bolshevism" and the Communists "Fascist perversion."“

— Christopher Isherwood
Context: As a homosexual, he had been wavering between embarrassment and defiance. He became embarrassed when he felt that he was making a selfish demand for his individual rights at a time when only group action mattered. He became defiant when he made the treatment of the homosexual a test by which every political party and government must be judged. His challenge to each one of them was: "All right, we've heard your liberty speech. Does that include us or doesn't it?" The Soviet Union had passed this test with honors when it recognized the private sexual rights of the individual, in 1917. But, in 1934, Stalin's government had withdrawn this recognition and made all homosexual acts punishable by heavy prison sentences. It had agreed with the Nazis in denouncing homosexuality as a form of treason to the state. The only difference was that the Nazis called it "sexual Bolshevism" and the Communists "Fascist perversion." Christopher — like many of his friends, homosexual and heterosexual — had done his best to minimize the Soviet betrayal of its own principles. After all, he had said to himself, anti-homosexual laws exist in most capitalist countries, including England and the United States. Yes — but if Communists claim that their system is juster than capitalism, doesn't that make their injustice to homosexuals less excusable and their hypocrisy even viler? He now realized that he must dissociate himself from the Communists, even as a fellow traveler. He might, in certain situations, accept them as allies but he could never regard them as comrades. He must never again give way to embarrassment, never deny the rights of his tribe, never apologize for its existence, never think of sacrificing himself masochistically on the altar of that false god of the totalitarians, the Greatest Good of the Greatest Number — whose priests are alone empowered to decide what "good" is. p. 334

„If I fear anything, I fear the atmosphere of the war, the power which it gives to all the things I hate — the newspapers, the politicians, the puritans, the scoutmasters, the middle-aged merciless spinsters.“

— Christopher Isherwood
Context: If I fear anything, I fear the atmosphere of the war, the power which it gives to all the things I hate — the newspapers, the politicians, the puritans, the scoutmasters, the middle-aged merciless spinsters. I fear the way I might behave, if I were exposed to this atmosphere. I shrink from the duty of opposition. I am afraid I should be reduced to a chattering enraged monkey, screaming back hate at their hate. Diary entry, 20 January 1940, from The Diaries of Christopher Isherwood, vol I: 1939 - 1960, edited by Katherine Bucknell, p. 84<!-- >

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„Once I have refused to press that button because of Heinz, I can never press it.“

— Christopher Isherwood
Context: Suppose, Christopher now said to himself, I have a Nazi Army at my mercy. I can blow it up by pressing a button. The men in that Army are notorious for torturing and murdering civilians — all except for one of them, Heinz. Will I press the button? No — wait: Suppose I know that Heinz himself, out of cowardice or moral infection, has become as bad as they are and takes part in all their crimes? Will I press that button, even so? Christopher's answer, given without the slightest hesitation, was: Of course not. That was a purely emotional reaction. But it helped Christopher think his way through to the next proposition. Suppose that Army goes into action and has just one casualty, Heinz himself. Will I press the button now and destroy his fellow criminals? No emotional reaction this time, but a clear answer, not to be evaded: Once I have refused to press that button because of Heinz, I can never press it. Because every man in that Army could be someone's Heinz and I have no right to play favorites. Thus Christopher was forced to recognize himself as a pacifist — although by an argument which he could only admit to with the greatest reluctance. p. 335

„There is no home here. There is no security in your mansions or your fortresses, your family vaults or your banks or your double beds. Understand this fact, and you will be free. Accept it, and you will be happy.“

— Christopher Isherwood
Context: An afternoon drive from Los Angeles will take you up into the high mountains, where eagles circle above the forests and the cold blue lakes, or out over the Mojave Desert, with its weird vegetation and immense vistas. Not very far away are Death Valley, and Yosemite, and Sequoia Forest with its giant trees which were growing long before the Parthenon was built; they are the oldest living things in the world. One should visit such places often, and be conscious, in the midst of the city, of their surrounding presence. For this is the real nature of California and the secret of its fascination; this untamed, undomesticated, aloof, prehistoric landscape which relentlessly reminds the traveller of his human condition and the circumstances of his tenure upon the earth. "You are perfectly welcome," it tells him, "during your short visit. Everything is at your disposal. Only, I must warn you, if things go wrong, don't blame me. I accept no responsibility. I am not part of your neurosis. Don't cry to me for safety. There is no home here. There is no security in your mansions or your fortresses, your family vaults or your banks or your double beds. Understand this fact, and you will be free. Accept it, and you will be happy." "Los Angeles" p. 162

„Christopher, like many other writers, was shockingly ignorant of the objective world, except where it touched his own experience.“

— Christopher Isherwood
Context: Christopher, like many other writers, was shockingly ignorant of the objective world, except where it touched his own experience. When he had to hide his ignorance beneath a veneer, he simply consulted someone who could supply him with the information he needed. p. 192

„California is a tragic country — like Palestine, like every Promised Land.“

— Christopher Isherwood
Context: California is a tragic country — like Palestine, like every Promised Land. Its short history is a fever-chart of migrations — the land rush, the gold rush, the oil rush, the movie rush, the Okie fruit-picking rush, the wartime rush to the aircraft factories — followed, in each instance, by counter-migrations of the disappointed and unsuccessful, moving sorrowfully homeward. "Los Angeles", p. 159

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„You’ve got to think, to discriminate, to exercise your own free will and judgment. And you must do this, I repeat, without tension, quite rationally and calmly. For if you give way to fury against the hypnotists, if you smash the radio and tear the newspapers to shreds, you will only rush to the other extreme and fossilize into defiant eccentricity.“

— Christopher Isherwood
Context: To live sanely in Los Angeles (or, I suppose, in any other large American city) you have to cultivate the art of staying awake. You must learn to resist (firmly but not tensely) the unceasing hypnotic suggestions of the radio, the billboards, the movies and the newspapers; those demon voices which are forever whispering in your ear what you should desire, what you should fear, what you should wear and eat and drink and enjoy, what you should think and do and be. They have planned a life for you – from the cradle to the grave and beyond – which it would be easy, fatally easy, to accept. The least wandering of the attention, the least relaxation of your awareness, and already the eyelids begin to droop, the eyes grow vacant, the body starts to move in obedience to the hypnotist’s command. Wake up, wake up – before you sign that seven-year contract, buy that house you don’t really want, marry that girl you secretly despise. Don’t reach for the whisky, that won’t help you. You’ve got to think, to discriminate, to exercise your own free will and judgment. And you must do this, I repeat, without tension, quite rationally and calmly. For if you give way to fury against the hypnotists, if you smash the radio and tear the newspapers to shreds, you will only rush to the other extreme and fossilize into defiant eccentricity. "Los Angeles", p. 161

„I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking.“

— Christopher Isherwood, Goodbye to Berlin
"Berlin Diary" (1930) from Goodbye to Berlin (1939)

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