To celebrate Gay Pride Month, we chose Christopher Isherwood as the focus for this episode of From the Vault. Born in England in 1904, Isherwood came to the United States in 1939 and lived in Santa Monica, California from then until his death in 1986. Isherwood’s literary career began in 1928 with the publication of his first novel, All the Conspirators, and he is probably best known for The Berlin Stories, a collection of writing that fictionalized his life in pre-World War II Berlin; this book was later adapted as the stage play I am a Camera and the popular musical Caberet.
In this program, you will hear a number of rare recordings of Christopher Isherwood, including a recording of the play “The Ascent of F-6,” written by Isherwood and W.H. Auden in 1937 (adapted, produced and performed in 1962 at Pacifica station KPFK-Los Angeles by Isherwood and Auden themselves, among others), and an address by Isherwood called “A Personal Statement,” given at the University of California- Berkeley as part of the series The Writer at Mid-Century: The Moral Crisis (1962).
Later we’re joined by Sue Hodson, curator of literary manuscripts at the Huntington Library, who discusses the significance of Christopher Isherwood and the recordings held by Pacifica Radio Archives. Hodson joined the Pacifica Radio Archives’ advisory panel in 2003 to help select 50 significant recordings to be preserved under a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts; after identifying Pacifica’s Isherwood recordings as rare and important, they were designated for preservation through this grant. Pacifica Radio Archives later donated duplicates of its restored Isherwood recordings to the Huntington Library’s Christopher Isherwood Exhibit.
From the Vault is presented through the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, past grants from the Grammy Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners.
PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about and purchase copies of the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.
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