This paper is concerned with Christopher Isherwood’s portrayal of his guru-disciple relationship with Swami Prabhavananda, situating it in the tradition of discipleship, which dates back to antiquity. It discusses Isherwood’s (auto)biographical works as records of his spiritual journey, influenced by his guru. The main focus of the study is My Guru and His Disciple, a memoir of the author and his spiritual master, which is one of Isherwood’s lesser-known books. The paper attempts to examine the way in which a commemorative portrait of the guru, suggested by the title, is incorporated into an account of Isherwood’s own spiritual development. It discusses the sources of Isherwood’s initial prejudice against religion, as well as his journey towards embracing it. It also analyses the facets of Isherwood and Prabhavananda’s guru-disciple relationship, which went beyond a purely religious arrangement. Moreover, the paper examines the relationship between homosexuality and religion and intellectualism and religion, the role of E. M. Forster as Isherwood’s secular guru, the question of colonial prejudice, as well as the reception of Isherwood’s conversion to Vedanta and his religious works.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.
Bostick, Adelaide P. “A Comparison of the Portrait of Jesus in The Gospels with the Portrait of Socrates in the Writings of Plato and Xenophon.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, vol. 3. 1935: 94–101. Print.
Bucknell, Katherine. “Introduction.” Liberation: Diaries, by Christopher Isherwood. Ed. Katherine Bucknell. London: Chatto & Windus, 2012. xiv–xl. Print.
Bucknell, Katherine. Introduction. The Sixties: Diaries 1960-1969, by Christopher Isherwood. Ed. Katherine Bucknell. New York: Harper Perennial, 2011. xi-xxxvii. Print.
Capper, Daniel. “Devotion to Tibetan Lamas, Self Psychology, and Healing in the United States.” American Journal of Pastoral Counseling, vol. 7, no. 3. 2004: 51–71. Print.
Carr, Jamie M. Queer Times: Christopher Isherwood‘s Modernity. New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.
Chatterjee, Niladri R. “‘Give me devotion … even against my will’: Christopher Isherwood and India.” The American Isherwood. Eds. James J. Berg and Chris Freeman. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015. 171–178. Print.
Copley, Antony. A Spiritual Bloomsbury: Hinduism and Homosexuality in the Lives and Writings of Edward Carpenter, E.M. Forster, and Christopher Isherwood. Lexington: Lexington Books, 2006. Print.
Edmonds III, Radcliffe G. “Socrates the Beautiful: Role Reversal and Midwifery in Plato’s Symposium.” Transactions of the American Philological Association (1974-), vol. 130. 2000: 261–285. Print.
Faraone, Mario. “Spiritual Searching in Isherwood’s Artistic Production.” The American Isherwood. Eds. James J. Berg and Chris Freeman. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015: 179–192. Print.
Farnan, Dorothy J. Auden in Love. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984. Print.
Finney, Brian. “My Guru and His Disciple.” English, vol. 29., no. 135. 1980: 266–271. Print.
Geherin, David J. “An Interview with Christopher Isherwood.” The Journal of Narrative Technique, vol. 2, no. 3. 1972: 143–158. Print.
Harker, Jaime. “‘A Life Entirely without Fear’: Hindus, Homos, and Gay Pulp in Christopher Isherwood‘s A Meeting by the River.” Gay Pulp Fiction: The Misplaced Heritage. Eds. Drewey Wayne Gunn and Jaime Harker. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2013. 229–247. Print.
Heilbrun, Carolyn G. “Christopher Isherwood: An Interview.” Twentieth Century Literature, vol. 22, no. 3. 1976: 253–263. Print.
Henig, Suzanne. “The Bloomsbury Group and Non-Western Literature.” Journal of South Asian Literature, vol. 10, no. 1. 1974: 73–82. Print.
Isherwood, Christopher. A Meeting by the River. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013. Print.
Isherwood, Christopher. Christopher and His Kind. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015. Print.
Isherwood, Christopher. Lost Years: A Memoir, 1945–1951. New York: HarperCollins, 2007. Print.
Isherwood, Christopher. My Guru and His Disciple. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1981. Print.
Isherwood, Christopher. The Sixties: Diaries 1960–1969. Ed. by Katherine Bucknell. New York: Harper Perennial, 2011. Print.
Isherwood, Christopher. What Vedanta Means to Me. Ed. John Yale. London: Rider & Company, 1961. 38–49. Print.
Jaffee, Martin S. “A Rabbinic Ontology of the Written and Spoken Word: On Discipleship, Transformative Knowledge, and the Living Texts of Oral Torah.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, vol. 65, no. 3. 1997: 525–549. Print.
Katz, Steven T. “Models, modeling and mystical training.” Religion, vol. 12, no. 3. 1982: 247–275. Print.
Kirsch, Arthur. Auden and Christianity. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005. Print.
Kramer, Samuel Noah. “The Sage in Sumerian Literature: A Composite Portrait.” The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East. Eds. John G. Gammie and Leo G. Perdue. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1990. 31–44. Print.
Kusek, Robert. “‘Trucizna płynąca w moich żyłach’: postpamięć Wielkiej Wojny we współczesnych narracjach (auto)biograficznych.” Przegląd Kulturoznawczy, vol. 22, no. 4. 2014: 383–395. Print.
Malamud, Margaret. “Gender and Spiritual Self-Fashioning: The Master-Disciple Relationship in Classical Sufism.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, vol. LXIV, no. 1. 1996: 89–117. Print.
Marsh, Victor. “On ‘The Problem of the Religious Novel’: Christopher Isherwood and A Single Man.” Literature and Theology, vol. 24, no. 4. 2010: 378–396. Print.
Mintz, Avi I. “Why did Socrates Deny that he was a Teacher? Locating Socrates among the new educators and the traditional education in Plato’s Apology of Socrates.” Educational Philosophy and Theory, vol. 46, no. 7. 2014: 735–747. Print.
Mlecko, Joel D. “The Guru in Hindu Tradition.” Numen, vol. 29, no. 1. 1982: 33–61. Print.
Monnickendam, Andrew. “Goodbye to Isherwood: The Rise and Fall of a Literary Reputation.” Atlantis, vol. 30, no. 2. 2008: 125–137. Print.
Murray, Chris. “Coleridge, Isherwood and Hindu Light.” Romanticism: The Journal of Romantic Culture and Criticism, vol. 22, no. 3. 2016: 269–278. Print.
Neusner, Jacob. “Death-Scenes and Farewell Stories: An Aspect of the Master-Disciple Relationship in Mark and in Some Talmudic Tales.” The Harvard Theological Review, vol. 79, no. 1. 1986: 187–197. Print.
Replogle, Justin. “The Auden Group.” Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary Literature, vol. 5, no. 2. 1964: 133–150. Print.
Russell, Bertrand. Why I Am Not a Christian: And Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects. Ed. Paul Edwards. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1967. Print.
Said, Edward. Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books, 1979. Print.
Sen, Amartya. “Indian Traditions and the Western Imagination.” Daedalus, vol. 126, no. 2. 1997: 1–26. Print.
Smith, Sidonie, and Julia Watson. Reading Autobiography. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001. Print.
Spender, Stephen. “Confessions and Autobiography.” Autobiography: Essays Theoretical and Critical. Ed. James Olney. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980. 115–122. Print.
Torwesten, Hans. Vedanta: Heart of Hinduism. Ed. Loly Rossett. Translated by John Phillips. New York: Grove Press, 1991. Print.
Votaw, Clyde Weber. “The Gospels and Contemporary Biographies.” The American Journal of Theology, vol. 19, no. 1. 1915: 45–73. Print.
Wach, Joachim. “Master and Disciple: Two Religio-Sociological Studies.” The Journal of Religion, vol. 42, no. 1. 1962: 1–21. Print.