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A Day in the Cabaret

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Today marks the centenary of Christopher Isherwood's birth. Isherwood, though born in England, spent almost his entire life in Santa Monica, where he died nearly twenty years ago. To celebrate his life, the Huntington Library has its Christopher Isherwood collection on display until October 3rd.

"Born in England on August 26, 1904, Isherwood emigrated to the U.S. in 1939 and lived in Santa Monica until his death in 1986. He stands as one of the most distinguished authors of the twentieth century, recognized for works that transcend classification in their combination of autobiographical and imaginative elements. Perhaps best known for The Berlin Stories, adapted as the play and film I Am a Camera and as the musical Cabaret, he also wrote novels, nonfiction books, plays and film scripts.

Isherwood was one of the first major, openly gay writers to be read extensively by a wider audience. His writings are characterized by, and widely praised for, their comic and ironic portrayal of life's often tragic events and by a transparent, unobtrusive writing style that allows the reader to see through the narrator's eyes. Literary critics and discriminating readers alike can readily agree with Gore Vidal, who called Isherwood 'the best prose writer in English.'"

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For more information on the Isherwood centenary, see The Isherwood Century or yesterday's "Day to Day" profile of Isherwood on NPR.