The Animals: Love Letters Between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy

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The love story between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy—in their own words

The English novelist and screenwriter Christopher Isherwood was already famous as the author of Goodbye to Berlin when he met Don Bachardy, a California teenager, on the beach in Santa Monica in 1952. Within a year, they began to live together as an openly gay couple, defying convention in the closeted world of Hollywood. Isherwood was forty-eight; Bachardy was eighteen. The Animals is the testimony in letters to their extraordinary partnership, which lasted until Isherwood's death in 1986—despite the thirty year age gap, affairs and jealousy (on both sides), the pressures of increasing celebrity, and the disdain of twentieth-century America for love between two men.
The letters reveal the private world of the Animals: Isherwood was "Dobbin," a stubborn old workhorse; Bachardy was the rash, playful "Kitty." Isherwood had a gift for creating a safe and separate domestic milieu, necessary for a gay man in midtwentieth-century America. He drew Bachardy into his semi-secret realm, nourished Bachardy's talent as a painter, and launched him into the artistic career that was first to threaten and eventually to secure their life together.
The letters also tell of public achievements—the critical acclaim for A Single Man, the commercial success of Cabaret—and the bohemian whirl of friendships in Los Angeles, London, and New York with such stars as Truman Capote, Julie Harris, David Hockney, Vanessa Redgrave, Gore Vidal, and Tennessee Williams. Bold, transgressive, and playful, The Animals articulates the devotion, in tenderness and in storms, between two uniquely original spirits.
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About the author

Christopher Isherwood (1902–1986) was born outside Manchester, England. He lived in Berlin from 1929 to 1933 and emigrated from Europe to the United States in 1939. A major figure in twentieth-century fiction and the gay rights movement, he wrote more than twenty books. Don Bachardy was born in Los Angeles in 1934. His artwork, which parallels David Hockney's and anticipates Elizabeth Peyton's, is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the de Young Museum, San Francisco; the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University; and the National Portrait Gallery, London, among others. He lives in Santa Monica, California.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Published on
May 13, 2014
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Pages
528
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ISBN
9780374712112
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Artists, Architects, Photographers
Literary Collections / LGBT
Literary Collections / Letters
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Ellen DeGeneres published her first book of comic essays, the #1 bestselling My Point...and I Do Have One, way back in 1996. Not one to rest on her laurels, the witty star of stage and screen has since dedicated her life to writing a hilarious new book. That book is this book.
After years of painstaking, round-the-clock research, surviving on a mere twenty minutes of sleep a night, and collaborating with lexicographers, plumbers, and mathematicians, DeGeneres has crafted a book that is both easy to use and very funny. Along with her trademark ramblings, The Funny Thing Is...contains hundreds of succinct insights into her psyche, supplemented by easy-to-understand charts, graphs, and diagrams so that you'll never miss a joke.
Overseeing all aspects of production, DeGeneres labored over details both significant and insignificant, including typefaces, page number placement, and which of the thousands of world languages to use. Ultimately she selected English, as it's her mother tongue, but translations into Hindi and Pig Latin are already in the works.
DeGeneres takes an innovative approach to the organization of her book by utilizing a section in the beginning that includes the name of each chapter, along with a corresponding page number. She calls it the "Table of Contents," and she is confident that it will become the standard to which all books in the future will aspire.
Some of the other innovative features you'll find in this edition:
• More than 50,000 simple, short words arranged in sentences that form paragraphs.
• Thousands of observations on everyday life -- from terrible fashion trends to how to handle seating arrangements for a Sunday brunch with Paula Abdul, Diane Sawyer, and Eminem.
• All twenty-six letters of the alphabet.
Sure to make you laugh, The Funny Thing Is...is an indispensable reference for anyone who knows how to read or wants to fool people into thinking they do.
It’s the the world’s oldest story: A girl, her fireman, and her other fireman.
When Lea heads off to Atlanta for a job interview, all she’s thinking about is the work. Well, and Sean, her best friend’s brother. Sean, the tall, muscular firefighter. With the gentle Southern drawl and the wicked smile. Whose couch she’s going to be sleeping on.
Well, actually, whose couch she hopes very much shewon’tbe sleeping on. But it turns out that Andy, Sean’s roommate, is another, equally hot Southern firefighter, and so when a visitor — or perhaps two — joins Lea on that couch, it sparks a series of events that none of them could possibly have foreseen.
But that none of them regrets. Not even a little bit.
This collection contains all seven installments in The Visitor Saga —plus the wild sequel!
1. The Visitor
2. The Visitor Comes Home
3. The Visitor Comes Again
4. The Visitor Goes to Work
5. The Visitor Entertains
6. The Visitor Takes a Trip
7. The Visitor Has Company
8. Bonus — The Visitor’s Wedding: Goddess

Extract (from “The Visitor"):
When she walked back up the stairs to the apartment a couple of hours later, she had in one hand an enormous bag full of barbecue chicken from the same joint she’d had lunch at, with orders of fried okra and corn bread. In the other hand, she swung a bottle of Maker’s Mark, with which she knocked on the door.
Just like the day before, a muffled voice called out, “C’me in! It’s unlocked.”
“Can’t!” she called back. “Hands full!”
“Hold on,” said a slightly closer voice, and the door swung open, revealing Sean, who was still wearing nothing but low-slung pajama bottoms.
Andy was sitting at the kitchen table, identically dressed.
“Haven’t you guys even gotten dressed all day?” Lea laughed and gave Sean a sound kiss on the lips.
He looked astonished, but Andy scowled.
“None of that!” burbled Lea, dancing into the kitchen and giving him an equally sound smooch. That seemed to cheer him up. “Tonight, we’re celebrating!” She held up the barbecue and the bourbon.
They were happy to go along with this plan, and were soon all stuffed and pleasantly buzzed. Between the warmth, the Southern humidity, the food, and the alcohol, Lea was getting sweaty, but she couldn’t have cared less. She was hoping to get a whole lot sweatier.Now which of you was my mystery man last night, she found herself wondering as she took off her jacket and tossed it in the general direction of the pullout.And am I going to get him to f—k me again, or am I going to try out the other one. Or…
She looked back at the two men, whiskey-wild thoughts bouncing through her head.
They were both staring at her. At her chest. Both licking their lips.

(MF, MMF ménage à trois. Bisexuality. FMF and MFF interracial. Wedding orgy. Explicit language and scenes of sexuality between consenting adults. Adult readers only.)
In the 1960s, Christopher Isherwood gave an unprecedented series of lectures at California universities on the theme “A Writer and His World.” During this time Isherwood, who would liberate the memoir and become the founding father of modern gay writing, spoke openly for the first time about his craft—on writing for film, theater, and novels—and on spirituality. Isherwood on Writing brings these public addresses together to reveal a distinctly—and surprisingly—American Isherwood.

 

Given at a critical time in Isherwood’s career, these lectures mark the era when he turned from fiction to memoir. In free-flowing, wide-ranging discussions, he reflects on such topics as why writers write, what makes a novel great, and what influenced his own work. Isherwood talks about his working relationship with W. H. Auden; his literary friendships with E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Stephen Spender, Aldous Huxley, and Somerset Maugham; and his work in the film industry in London and Hollywood. He also explores uncharted territory in candid comments on his own work, something not contained in his diaries.

 

Isherwood on Writing uncovers an important and often-misunderstood time in Isherwood’s life in America. The lectures present, in James J. Berg’s words, “an example of a man, comfortable in his own sexuality and self, trying to talk about himself and his own life in a society that is not yet ready to hear the whole story.”

 

A major figure in twentieth-century fiction and the gay rights movement, Christopher Isherwood (1904–1986) is the author of many books, including A Single Man and Down There on a Visit, available from Minnesota.

 

James J. Berg is dean of liberal arts and sciences at Lake Superior College in Duluth, Minnesota. He is editor, with Chris Freeman, of The Isherwood Century: Essays on the Life and Work of Christopher Isherwood (winner of the Lambda Award) and Conversations with Christopher Isherwood.

 

Claude Summers is professor emeritus of English at the University of Michigan, Dearborn and author of many works, including Gay Fictions: Wilde to Stonewall.

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