The Berlin Novels

The Berlin Novels

Christopher Isherwood / Aug 20, 2019

The Berlin Novels Mr Norris change trains The first of Christopher Isherwood s classic Berlin novels this portrays the encounter and growing friendship between young William Bradshaw and the urbane and mildly sinister

  • Title: The Berlin Novels
  • Author: Christopher Isherwood
  • ISBN: 9780749397029
  • Page: 106
  • Format: Paperback
  • Mr Norris change trains The first of Christopher Isherwood s classic Berlin novels, this portrays the encounter and growing friendship between young William Bradshaw and the urbane and mildly sinister Mr Norris Piquant, witty and oblique, it vividly evokes the atmosphere of pre war Berlin, and forcefully conveys an ironic political parable.Goodbye to Berlin The inspiratMr Norris change trains The first of Christopher Isherwood s classic Berlin novels, this portrays the encounter and growing friendship between young William Bradshaw and the urbane and mildly sinister Mr Norris Piquant, witty and oblique, it vividly evokes the atmosphere of pre war Berlin, and forcefully conveys an ironic political parable.Goodbye to Berlin The inspiration for the stage and screen musical Cabaret and for the play I Am a Camera, this novel remains one of the most powerful of the century, a haunting evocation of the gathering storm of the Nazi terror Told in a series of wry, detached and impressionistic vignettes, it is an unforgettable portrait of bohemian Berlin a city and a world on the very brink of ruin.

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    • ↠ The Berlin Novels || æ PDF Read by ✓ Christopher Isherwood
      106 Christopher Isherwood
    • thumbnail Title: ↠ The Berlin Novels || æ PDF Read by ✓ Christopher Isherwood
      Posted by:Christopher Isherwood
      Published :2018-012-21T03:12:47+00:00

    About "Christopher Isherwood"

      • Christopher Isherwood

        Christopher Isherwood was a novelist, playwright, screen writer, autobiographer, and diarist He was also homosexual and made this a theme of some of his writing He was born near Manchester in the north of England in 1904, became a U.S citizen in 1946, and died at home in Santa Monica, California in January 1986.Isherwood was the grandson and heir of a country squire, and his boyhood was privileged With a school friend, Wystan Auden, he wrote three plays The Dog Beneath the Skin 1932 , The Ascent of F6 1936 , and On the Frontier 1938 Isherwood tells the story in his first autobiography, Lions and Shadows.In 1925, Isherwood was asked to leave Cambridge University after writing joke answers on his second year exams He briefly attended medical school, and progressed with his first two novels, All the Conspirators 1928 and The Memorial 1932 In 1930, he moved to Berlin where he taught English, dabbled in communism, and enthusiastically explored his homosexuality His experiences there, provided the material for Mr Norris Changes Trains 1935 and Goodbye to Berlin 1938 , still his most famous book.In Berlin in 1932, he also began an important relationship with a young German, Heinz Neddermeyer, with whom he fled the Nazis in 1933 Neddermeyer was refused entry to England on his second visit in 1934, and the pair moved restlessly about Europe until they were finally separated when Neddermeyer was arrested by the Gestapo in May 1937.In 1938, Isherwood sailed with Auden to China to write Journey to a War 1939 , about the Sino Japanese conflict They returned to England and Isherwood went on to Hollywood to look for movie writing work He also became a disciple of the Ramakrishna monk, Swami Prabhavananda, head of the Vedanta Society of Southern California He decided not to take monastic vows, but he remained a Hindu for the rest of his life, serving, praying, and lecturing in the temple every week and writing a biography, Ramakrishna and His Disciples 1965.In 1945, Isherwood published Prater Violet, fictionalizing his first movie writing job in London in 1933 1934 In Hollywood, he spent the start of the 1950s fighting his way free of a destructive five year affair with an attractive and undisciplined American photographer, William Caskey Caskey took the photographs for Isherwood s travel book about South America, The Condor and The Cows 1947 Isherwood s sixth novel, The World in the Evening 1954 , written mostly during this period, was less successful than earlier ones.In 1953, he fell in love with Don Bachardy, an eighteen year old college student born and raised in Los Angeles They were to remain together until Isherwood s death In 1961, Isherwood and completed the final revisions to his new novel Down There on a Visit 1962 Their relationship nearly ended in 1963, and Isherwood moved out of their Santa Monica house This dark period underpins Isherwood s masterpiece A Single Man 1964.Isherwood wrote another novel, A Meeting by the River 1967 , about two brothers, but he gave up writing fiction and turned entirely to autobiography In Kathleen and Frank 1971 , he drew on the letters and diaries of his parents In Christopher and His Kind 1976 , he returned to the 1930s to tell, as a publicly avowed homosexual, the real story of his life in Berlin and his wanderings with Heinz Neddermeyer The book made him a hero of gay liberation and a national celebrity all over again but now in his true, political and personal identity His last book, My Guru and His Disciple 1980 , records with similar honesty his conversion to Hinduism and his devotion to Swami Prabhavanandaherwoodfoundation bi


    291 Comments

    1. The Last of Mr. Norris (1935): 3 starsGoodbye to Berlin (1939): 4.5 starsI started this book before the events at Charlottesville; unfortunately, it proved timely. Based on his own experiences living in pre-WWII Berlin, Isherwood writes of the Nazis being talked of, even laughed at, at first; and by the book's end of their stalking the streets and terrorizing Jewish citizens, the police powerless to do anything about it. For the most part, though, that’s ‘just’ the background and atmospher [...]


    2. UPDATE Aug 2106 tried again just as boring After starting with great expectations, I found "The Berlin Stories" to be incredibly boring. The GR reviews of the book were far more interesting (for me) than the book itself. I guess I like character development as an adjunct to a plot, but not so much all by itself. I found no reason to care about the characters and the minutia of their lives, no matter how well described they were. A pity, since so much was happening in Germany in the time period [...]


    3. Two novels in one, although the second 'novel' is a collection of loosely connected stories. A series of character portraits, exaggerated personalities, and all the color and clamor of a Weimar cabaret. But all of this is made bittersweet with the knowledge that the Nazis would begin to consume all in their path by 1933.


    4. I fell in love with Isherwood earlier this year when I read "A Single Man." So I couldn't resist when the book club chose The Berlin Stories. Even though I was vastly overcommitted I did it anyway. And I'm glad.It's not as dark as so much pre-WWII writing is. That's because most pre-WWII writing was written post-WWII and takes a look at the oncoming darkness head-on. With Isherwood it really seeps in so slowly you don't notice.It is a very youthful book, full of the kind of blase naivete that is [...]


    5. I'm reading this alongside Isherwood's memoir, Christopher and His Kind for an upcoming column on the film Cabaret. So you might say I'm getting all the ins and outs of Weimar Germany, and set to music, no less! (*slaps own cheek* Did I say that?)Isherwood's writing is so delightful, his characters so well-drawn and his portrait of Berlin so fascinating that you almost miss the despair, particularly in "Sally Bowles." It's hard to read that story without seeing Liza Minelli in your mind's eye an [...]


    6. The Berlin Stories is a collection of two Isherwood novellas set in Berlin in the early 1930s. While enjoyable and "light," both stories have great depth because they contain an almost hidden background of Hitler's rise to power.While I enjoyed the first novella (Mr. Norris Changes Trains) for its characterization and rather unexpected ending, it is the second novella I love. In Goodbye to Berlin, Isherwood masterfully uses dialogue to tell the story of the lively, erratic, optimistic Sally Bowl [...]


    7. This was again a new author for me and I found I quite enjoyed reading this. The first of the novellas the Last of Mr Norris reminded me very much of Travels with My Aunt. Mr Norris (who our narrator—a version of Isherwood—meets on a train) is a reprobate, and his dealings (and connections), almost always dubious. But our narrator takes to him in a sense and finds himself amidst (sometimes as a mere observer, but at others more involved) Norris’ life and friends—all with varying degrees [...]


    8. I have finished my first book of 2011, or is it my first two books? The Berlin Stories is two books combined into one; The Last of Mr. Norris and Goodbye Berlin. While the two are not directly linked, they do have a common narrator, boarding house and landlady (all the essentials to a great story).Book one follows the narrator (presumably the author) on a trip from his native England, on the train, to Berlin, where he shares a berth with the odd, yet intriguing Arthur Norris. The story explores [...]


    9. Isherwood’s The Berlin Novels explore the chaotic and troubling world of pre-Nazi and Nazi Germany. The vignettes read like a collection of photographic snap-shots, illuminating the various characters Isherwood knew in 1930’s Berlin, as it has a strong autobiographical connection, Isherwood’s prose is simple and straightforward, his characters are a collection of various misfits and miscreants who populate the Berlin in which Isherwood lurched from one sordid adventure to another. From the [...]


    10. I first read this book thiry years ago, being most concerned with the Sally Bowles/"Cabaret" connection, and loved it. Upon re-reading it again so many years later, I can appreciate it even more. It's a wonderful book. Isherwood is a marvelous writer, and he gives us an invaluable opportunity to time travel back to the last days of the Berlin of the Weimar Republic, with its "divine decadence," its joyful sexuality, its economic and political unrest, and its odd innocence before Hitler seized po [...]


    11. Really, this book contains two complete short novels (one of which is almost a collection of interrelated short stories) set in Berlin between 1930 and 1934. In the background of the encounters between eccentric characters, Nazis are rising to power, and there is a palpable sense of an ending to the life being described herein. The movie Cabaret was based on one character and a few other occasions from the second novel, Goodbye to Berlin. The first, The Last of Mr. Norris, is extremely entertain [...]


    12. I have to clarify with my 3 star rating that this is an average because it is really two different books in one. The first one is The Last of Mr. Norris. If I were reviewing that one alone I would have given it only 2 stars. It is about a man (the author I presume but he used a pseudonym) who rents a room in a flat in Berlin (early 1930s, pre-Hitler) and runs around with communists. He gets involved with Arthur Norris who is a very likable criminal with a fondness for dominatrixes. It's a nice s [...]


    13. Dear Mr. Isherwood, how is it that we haven't before been introduced? Unlike several other reviewers, I actually adored both novels assembled in this volume. In fact, I may even slightly prefer the oft-panned The Last of Mr. Norris, for although Mr. Norris is obnoxious, his narrative coheres in ways that Goodbye to Berlin does not (and it provides a better glimpse of dear Frl. Schroeder). Of course, I don't mean to knock Goodbye, either, for it's a lovely array of vignettes with some exceedingly [...]


    14. Isherwood's own thoughtful, gentle, fallible nature, which the reader understands and idnetifies with immediately, stands in haunting contrast to the ominous changes taking place in Berlin during his stay there (1930-1934). For me, at least, the novel brings home--in a deeply personal way--how uncertain the political outcomes were as late as 1932; and then, how swiftly and crushingly the tides shifted. It also gives names and personalities to people--Nazis, communists, politcal know-nothings, an [...]


    15. It's hard not to romanticize/fantasize about living in Weimar-era Berlin the art, the decadence, the imminent doom of a society that will be genocided and then bombed into nothingness. And I'm totally a sucker for it too. Isherwood hits all the right bullet points for this romantic image-- stoic Jewish families staring at the dawn of the Third Reich with brave faces on, exuberant youthful communists, expatriate actresses, Nazi landladies, independently wealthy sadomasochists, and prostitutes who [...]



    16. This book is composed of 2 previously separately published stories: THE LAST OF MR. NORRIS which the author Christopher Isherwood, dedicated to his long-time friend W. H. Auden and GOODBYE TO BERLIN which was the basis of the play I AM A CAMERA and CABARET starring Liza Minnelli. I know some lines in that song but I had no chance of seeing neither the movie nor the play.I bought this book at Fully Booked Greenhills at its full price (less than US$20) at postponed reading it for sometime. When On [...]


    17. Isherwood’s style is starkly magnificent, blending dark humor with the deepest human tragedies. His view of Berlin and its people just before the rise of the Nazis is merciless in its realism, but at the same time, it is colored with an unconditional love for the various people he meets, belonging to all sorts of different social cliques in Berlin. Though his sympathies lie distinctly with the marginalized classes, Isherwood does not shirk from portraying his characters with an objective accur [...]


    18. I have to get over this bias I have against books that are more than, I don't know, forty years old? It's short-sighted and preposterous. I mean, I'm sure plenty of older books are dry and boring, but this one was scintillating and sultry and compelling and great.


    19. This book was such a delightful surprise. The different short novels within the compilation were a veritable rainbow of shades describing Berlin before the war. From the disarming wittiness of Mr Norris, to the decadence of Sally Bowles, to a rather "clean" homosexual romance and finally to more poignant tales as the realities of Hitlers rise to power began to be clear they were all either funny, thought provoking of moving, contributing to a most delicious literary smorgasbord


    20. A collection of autobiographical short stories that are the basis for the musical Cabaret. 1931 Berlin is a bit too recognizable these days for my comfort


    21. Basically as funny, sad, mordant and frightening as I remember it. Isherwood has a keen eye for how quickly and easily things can tip from the mundane into sheer political horror.


    22. The Berlin Stories collects Christopher Isherwood's two most famous novels, "Mr. Norris Changes Trains" and "Goodbye to Berlin," into a single volume. This collection is often touted by unscrupulous marketers as "astonishing," "life changing," "deeply moving," "marvelously grotesque," "the high water mark of literature," "undisputed classics of the highest caliber," etc. In contrast to the circus-like marketing hype, I was somewhat underwhelmed by both novels.The first novel, "Mr. Norris Changes [...]


    23. The collecting of short stories/ charachter reflections by an aspiring writer, ex-pat, English teacher is a familiar account of adaptation and cross-cultural investigation although is set in one of the most fecund periods in modern history.A chronicle of Berlin in 1932- 34 and the precursory atmosphere that would lead into the offical sanctioning of genocide which was the establishment of Nazi Germany.The works are diary excerpts and accounts of interactions with accquaintances published retrosp [...]


    24. Proof, finally, that time is nonlinear! Liza Minelli's 'Sally Bowles' must have walked right off a 1973 screening of that great musical, 'Cabaret' and into Isherwood's Berlin of the early 1930s. Isherwood need not have even mentioned her name and we'd know Liza/Sally anywhere, anytime, any place when Isherwood writes:'Sally laughed: "To-day, I specially didn't paint my toenails.""Oh, rot, Sally! Do you really?" [says the shocked, proper English gentleman, Isherwood.]"Yes, of course I do""But wha [...]


    25. Although Mr Norris Changes Trains does have a linear narrative, Goodbye to Berlin is just a collection of random events and characters. Both books really go nowhere, but it's a pretty enjoyable journey getting there! They are written in simple, yet evocative language, so you can really "see" the characters and places. However, the main character in both books is so annoying; a totally blank personality-free observer, with the occasional bout of peevishness. He describes Nazi beatings with the sa [...]


    26. A fairly quick and easy read - none the less it was extremely interesting. These books deal with the author's life in a very bohemian Berlin during the end of the 1920s and the start of the 1930s. As such, it was a very interesting cultural read, because I am always interested in the geopolitical happenings of this era and less of the cultural happenings. So we meet a dominatrix prostitute, bisexual men and loose women and no one bats an eye - not the way I usually think of this time period. How [...]


    27. I read this book because I knew Cabaret was inspired on "Goodbye to Berlin" and also after watching the movie "Christopher and His Kind".This book gives an overview of Berlin during the early 30's. What's interesting is that it was written during that period (first published in 1935) and not form the eyes of a German, but an Englishman. I think this is quite paramount, as most of the time a outer witness can provide with a more impartial description of events. In some of the stories Isherwood de [...]


    28. I wanted to like this book.or maybe it's a collection. Isherwood was only a distant observerhe conveyed no emotional involvement with the changes going on in Germany or the people around him. His detachment became wearing and made the stories boring, and I kept picturing Michael York instead of Isherwood.


    29. These stories of prewar Berlin were so finely wrought that I couldn't put them down. Largely through the device of his autobiographical protagonist, Isherwood tells about the people who inhabit his rooming house and through them sketches all the stresses and tensions of the end of the Weimar Republic. Part of this work became the basis for the musical "Cabaret"


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