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About the book
  • Published: 1 August 2013
  • ISBN: 9780099561231
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $22.99

My Guru and His Disciple




First published in 1980, Isherwood’s overlooked last book is central to an understanding of his life and work.

WITH A NEW INTRODUCTION BY SIMON CALLOW

In 1939, as Europe approaches war, Isherwood, an instinctive pacifist, travels west to California, seeking a new set of beliefs to replace the failed Leftism of the thirties. There he meets Swami Prabhavananda, a Hindu monk, who will become his spiritual guide for the next thirty-seven years. Late-night drinking sessions, free love, and the glamour of writing for the Hollywood studios alternate with meditation, abstinence and the study of religious texts in a compelling tug of war between worldliness and holiness.

  • Pub date: 1 August 2013
  • ISBN: 9780099561231
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $22.99

About the Author

Christopher Isherwood

Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986) was one of the most celebrated writers of his generation. He left Cambridge without graduating, briefly studied medicine and then turned to writing his first novels, All the Conspirators and The Memorial. Between 1929 and 1939 he lived mainly abroad, spending four years in Berlin and writing the novels Mr Norris Changes Trains and Goodbye to Berlin on which the musical Cabaret was based. He moved to America in 1939, becoming a US citizen in 1946, and wrote another five novels, including Down There on a Visit and A Single Man, a travel book about South America and a biography of the Indian mystic Ramakrishna. In the late 1960s and '70s he turned to autobiographical works: Kathleen and Frank, Christopher and His Kind, My Guru and His Disciple and October, one month of his diary with drawings by Don Bachardy.

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Praise for My Guru and His Disciple

“Isherwood has reinvented the spirit of devotion for the modern reader. If I had to propose a candidate for canonization, Isherwood - wry, self-conscious, scrupulously honest - would get my vote”

Edmund White, New York Times

“A masterpiece of spiritual memoir”

Los Angeles Times

“What emerges is a record of a religious adventure that would have delighted Kierkegaard... Isherwood rejects conventional piety - all the humdrum apparatus of worship - in favor of a direct, even jaunty appreciation of how preposterous, certainly precarious, spirituality can be today.”

New York Times

“The sacred and the profane collide like never before”

Giles Foden, Conde Nast Traveller


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