Like Paris within the '20s, Berlin within the early thirties used to be essentially the most interesting towns on the earth. because the Weimar Republic sputtered to an in depth and struggle loomed at the horizon, the town was once a magnet for gifted writers and artists. It was once during this now-vanished time and position that W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood lived, wrote and slept jointly. Norman web page tells the tale of ways those years formed those vital writers and, in doing so, illuminates a bygone period.
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Additional resources for Auden and Isherwood The Berlin Years
Although the dated entries begin in March (and continue to 26 April), the cover of the journal bears the inscription 'April 1929', and there is other evidence suggesting that the early entries at least were made retrospectively. If so, Auden may have been enough of a romantic at the time to have selected this means of marking his association with Gerhart as the beginning of a new era, for he had met the youth on Easter Sunday, 31 March, and their first assignation (in Auden's lodgings) had been on 1 April.
One poem makes a promise to return to Berlin in four Two Young Englishmen 45 months' time - that is, in the Christmas holidays - but however fervently intended the promise was not kept. ) Isherwood received visits from two other English friends during the summer of 1930. During August he met Stephen Spender in Bamburg, and in the last week of that month Edward Upward visited him in Berlin (the first of two visits paid by Upward). A year older than Isherwood, Upward had been at both Repton and Cambridge with him and, as Allen Chalmers, is prominent in Lions and Shadows.
He stayed, in fact, for about ten months, working on the third draft of The Memorial. So far as his social life was concerned, one of his great advantages was knowing very little German. For turning his back on England had set him free not only from family and background but from language and culture. In using a language in which he was still inexpert and in which words were stripped of nuances, implications, connotations and indications of class he felt 'a marvellous freedom'. The phrase is his own: Christopher's relations with many of the boys soon became easy and intimate.
Auden and Isherwood The Berlin Years by Norman