He became famous in South Africa with his first novel, Turbott Wolfe, which had inter-racial love and marriage as a theme. He was co-founder of the short-lived literary magazine Voorslag ("Whiplash") with two other South African rebels, Roy Campbell and Laurens van der Post; it promoted a racially equal South Africa.
He spent the period from October 1926 to March 1929 in Japan, where he was friendly with Sherard Vines. There, according to biographers, he was in a same-sex relationship with a Japanese man. He was never openly gay during his lifetime; at most he alluded to the subject.
He then moved to England, and through his friendship with his publisher Virginia Woolf, entered the London literary circles. He became an important literary editor, for Faber and Faber, and was a literary adviser to Jonathan Cape. He was active as a librettist, with Gloriana, Curlew River, The Burning Fiery Furnace and The Prodigal Son for Benjamin Britten.
William Plomer by Edward Wolfe, oil on canvas, 1929, 55 7/8 in. x 39 1/8 in. (1419 mm x 994 mm), Purchased, 1977, Primary Collection, NPG 5172
William Plomer was a South African author, novelist, poet and literary editor. He was educated mostly in the United Kingdom. Plomer edited several of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels in the 1950s and 60s. For the last thirty years of his life, as a respected 'person of letters', Plomer had an unassuming and devoted companion in Charles Erdmann. Erdmann met Plomer in 1944 while working as a cloakroom attendant in a Soho restaurant and lived with him for the next 29 years, until Plomer's death.
For the last thirty years of his life, as a respected 'person of letters', Plomer had an unassuming and devoted companion in Charles Erdmann. Charles Erdmann (born 1909) was born in London of a German father and Polish mother. At the outbreak of World War I, the family went to Germany where Erdmann was raised from about age five. He returned to England as a refugee in 1939, and worked as a waiter and a pastry-cook (for which he was trained in Germany) and at other things. He met Plomer in 1944 while working as a cloakroom attendant in a Soho restaurant and lived with him for the next twenty-nine years, until Plomer's death.
Queer London: Perils and Pleasures in the Sexual Metropolis, 1918-1957 (The Chicago Series on Sexuality, History, and Society) by Matt Houlbrook
Paperback: 398 pages
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (October 15, 2006)
Amazon: Queer London: Perils and Pleasures in the Sexual Metropolis, 1918-1957
In August 1934, young Cyril L. wrote to his friend Billy about all the exciting men he had met, the swinging nightclubs he had visited, and the vibrant new life he had forged for himself in the big city. He wrote, "I have only been queer since I came to London about two years ago, before then I knew nothing about it." London, for Cyril, meant boundless opportunities to explore his newfound sexuality. But his freedom was limite: he was soon arrested, simply for being in a club frequented by queer men.
Cyril's story is Matt Houlbrook's point of entry into the queer worlds of early twentieth-century London. Drawing on previously unknown sources, from police reports and newspaper exposés to personal letters, diaries, and the first queer guidebook ever written, Houlbrook here explores the relationship between queer sexualities and modern urban culture that we take for granted today. He revisits the diverse queer lives that took hold in London's parks and streets; its restaurants, pubs, and dancehalls; and its Turkish bathhouses and hotels—as well as attempts by municipal authorities to control and crack down on those worlds. He also describes how London shaped the culture and politics of queer life—and how London was in turn shaped by the lives of queer men. Ultimately, Houlbrook unveils the complex ways in which men made sense of their desires and who they were. In so doing, he mounts a sustained challenge to conventional understandings of the city as a place of sexual liberation and a unified queer culture.
A history remarkable in its complexity yet intimate in its portraiture, Queer London is a landmark work that redefines queer urban life in England and beyond.
“A ground-breaking work. While middle-class lives and writing have tended to compel the attention of most historians of homosexuality, Matt Houlbrook has looked more widely and found a rich seam of new evidence. It has allowed him to construct a complex, compelling account of interwar sexualities and to map a new, intimate geography of London.”—Matt Cook, The Times Higher Education Supplement
Winner of History Today’s Book of the Year Award, 2006
Diaries: Volume 1, 1939-1960 by Christopher Isherwood
Paperback: 1104 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (September 9, 1998)
Amazon: Diaries: Volume 1, 1939-1960
In 1939 Christopher Isherwood and W. H. Auden emigrated together to the United States. These diaries, covering the period up to 1960, describe Isherwood's search for a new life in California, where he eventually settled.
The diaries tell how Isherwood became a disciple of the Hindu monk Swami Prabhavananda; about his pacifism during World War II; about his work as a screenwriter in Hollywood and his friendships with such gifted artists and intellectuals as Garbo, Chaplin, Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, Stravinsky, Aldous Huxley, Gielgud, Olivier, Richard Burton, and Charles Laughton, many of whom were émigrés like himself.
Throughout this period, Isherwood continued to write novels and sustain his literary friendship with E. M. Forster, Somerset Maugham, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, and others. He turned to his diary several times a week to record jokes and gossip, observations about his adopted country, philosophy and mystical insights. In spare, luminous prose, he also revealed his most intimate and passionate relationships, particularly with Bill Caskey and later with the very young Don Bachardy.
Letters between Forster and Isherwood on Homosexuality and Literature by Richard E. Zeikowitz
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (August 5, 2008)
Amazon: Letters between Forster and Isherwood on Homosexuality and Literature
The correspondence between E. M. Forster and Christopher Isherwood is a fascinating record of the professional and personal lives of two major British writers from the 1930s to the 1960s. The letters of the 1930s reveal how Forster and Isherwood each came to grips with the rise of fascism in Europe and threat of war as both writers and simply human beings caught in the midst of a world on the brink of disaster. These letters also tell two parallel but very different stories of love and devotion between each writer and his respective male partner. The correspondence during the war years juxtapose the strikingly different worlds in which Forster and Isherwood were living: the London area during the Blitz and the southern California community of exiled writers, respectively. In the post-war letters the two friends continue their ongoing conversation to find a suitable ending for Forster’s groundbreaking but yet unpublished novel, Maurice. This complete collection of very readable letters, thoroughly annotated and with an informative introduction, will be of great interest for literary scholars and general readers.
More Real Life Romances at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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