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Leviathan of the Urinals: Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin at The Space

July 13, 2014 by in Reviews

July 4, 2014, Litro. 

Isherwood went to Berlin in 1929 because, as his autobiography diagnoses, in its tinny third-person voice, “Christopher Isherwood was suffering from an inhibition… he couldn’t relax sexually with a member of his own class or nation.” This need for an erotic distance, a detachment from the homophobia invested in the middle-class and the nation—the expat, class traitor equivalent of turning the family photographs down while having sex—was “not unusual”. Wilde wrote of the illicit pleasures “feasting with panthers,” dallying with grooms and rentboys, and Edward Carpenter’s bucolic socialism was grounded in a conviction that same-sex love could be a “great leveller”. Isherwood’s craving for strangeness and his rejection of England and its “poshocracy” were stronger still: he deliberately flunked out of Cambridge and sought sex and adventure in Germany, among the people who killed his father, as his mother regularly reminded him.

Read more at Litro

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