Christopher Isherwood


Christopher, William, Bradshaw, Isherwood was born 26th of August 1904 at Wybersleigh Hall in England.

His father had been a professional soldier who had a seat in Cheshire, they could trace their family origins way back into the sixteenth century.

Christopher was the heir to a substantial estate as his family were from the landowning classes and resided in Marple Hall in Cheshire.

Born into the landed gentry Christopher was to become a leading writer of the 1930s generation, a war reporter, a travel writer as well as a monk and part of the gay liberation movement. Isherwood attended Cambridge university in the early 1920s after leaving he published his first book in 1928 known as “All the conspirators”.In 1929 he moved over to Berlin, a homosexual Christopher had many lovers in Germany one lover Walter Wolff a heterosexual yet was aroused by Christopher’s attraction to him, he portrayed Walter in his film “Goodbye Berlin” as the character Otto Novak.

Christopher became really good friends with Magnus Hirschfeld and his lover Karl Giese who was the institute of sexual wissentscahfts secretary, who lived with Magnus.

Christopher practically lived in the institute having his own rooms then in 1933 Christopher

left Berlin and returned to England with his friend Auden as hitler had came to power.

Christopher wandered through Europe in places such as Greece and france always remaining one step ahead of the Nazi authorities, he later emigrated to America in 1939 working in the film industry with Hollywood and London, some of his works from the 1930s are listed below:

All the conspirators

Christopher and his kind 1929 to 1939

Diaries from 1939 to 1960

Down There On a Visit


Frankenstein The True Story

Goodbye to Berlin

Jacobs hands

Journey to war

There are many more works by Christopher Isherwood and a film about his life is being made as we speak, sadly he died in 1986 at his home in Southern California at the age of 84.

He remains one of the first writers to openly write about homosexuality in his works and was a pioneer writer of the 1930s.

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Comments 10 comments

d.william profile image

d.william 5 years ago from Somewhere in the south

Interesting article. I have copied the works you listed and will try to find some of them to read. Sounds like he was quite an interesting character. Thanks for the post.

calpol25 profile image

calpol25 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner) Author

Hi D.william, yes he was an interesting fellow, he was one of the first men to write about homosexuality in his books, and his book was the basis for the musical Cabaret xx

Thanks for your comments and hope to hear more from you...

Calpol 25

alian346 profile image

alian346 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

I'm presuming, Callum, that you know about a couple of movies about CI. One is 'Christopher and his Kind' starring Matt Smith (Dr Who!) as CI and is based on the Berlin Novels. The other is 'Chris and Don' - a kind of documentary about the relationshiop between Don Bachardy and CI after he moved to the US. Both are really good.

I love CI's writing style and observations - very witty. It so happens I'm in the middle of reading 'Mr Norris Changes Trains' at the moment so your Hub was a pleasant surprise!


PS I LOVE 'Cabaret' too - saw it when it first came out - at the end the whole audience stood up and applauded!

calpol25 profile image

calpol25 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner) Author

Hi Ian

Thank you, I do know about those movies they were brilliant, I thought matt smith was fantastic at his portrayal of CI.

Goodbye to Berlin is my favourite book, I love cabaret too I watch it as often as I can I love Liza Minnelli too :-)

Before I wrote this hub it was part of my thesis and I got to go to Berlin and walk down the streets that CI would have, and one could only imagine just what he must have seen.

Thanks again Ian..

alian346 profile image

alian346 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

Have you ever seen an excellent movie called 'Westler' (around 1984 I think) about a West Berlin guy who falls for an East Berlin guy and their struggles to be united? I found the ending unsatisfactory but won't say any more in case you haven't seen it!

Berlin is a fantastic place now isn't it? I first went there in 1978 and we had to get visas to visit the East - what a dreich and depressing place that was at the time and scary getting in and out! Then in 2007 we returned and I was able to walk through the Brandenberger Gate with NO WALL in the way. I tell you that was very, very emotional and I'm a Scot - not German! And the amount of construction that had happened was mind-boggling.

Talking about movies - there is another one you may have seen - 'A Love to Hide' (2005) about a gay guy in Paris and elsewhere and his experiences of WW2. If you haven't seen it please be warned that it's not good to watch it if you're feeling down - I made that mistake! It's kind of like 'Bent' in a vague sort of way.

Thanks for all your correspondence Callum.



calpol25 profile image

calpol25 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner) Author

I cried watching a love to hide, and bent such great films and very emotional, I have not seen Westler will look it up thanks for pointing it out....

I was in the gay quarter of Berlin in Kreuzberg such an amazing place I got a photo of a pink building that had the rainbow flag outside of it, its an apartment building for retired LGBT people so amazing... I love Berlin am determined to go back there some day, there is something for everyone... :)))

There is even a gay museum - Schwules Museum - so amazing they have exhibitions that go back 200 years... love it :))))

alian346 profile image

alian346 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

I've looked at the Schwules Museum site and it seems to be pretty comprehensive - but not like being there. But how much more would there have been if all of Magnus' stuff hadn't been burned in 1933?!!! When we were there, believe it or not, we just didn't get round to going - too many bars!

BTW, you can get a copy of 'Westler' at some of Amazon's sellers - just had a look - there seem to be two - one around £18(!) and the other around £9.


calpol25 profile image

calpol25 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner) Author

Hi alian just ordered one of the copies, I have a book from the museum its brilliant. I wish we could have read some of magnus's work too would have been amazing...

Too many bars i like that lol thats usually my excuse too thanks for telling me about the Westler cant wait to watch it :)


alian346 profile image

alian346 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

You'll enjoy it - the first bit is in LA just to confuse you - and it may feel a bit dated but it is a very sweet movie - tell me what you think when you've seen it.

I'm away to watch the BAFTAs - I bet you will be too!!


calpol25 profile image

calpol25 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner) Author

You know me so well Ian, baftas here I come...

I will send you a message when I have watched the film I cant wait :))

See you later


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