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Tuesday, 11 May, 1999, 11:17 GMT 12:17 UK
Isherwood archive bought by LA library
Cabaret
A scene from last year's hit Broadway production of Cabaret
The private papers of the British-born author Christopher Isherwood, whose works are best known for being the inspiration behind the musical Cabaret, have been bought by a library in Los Angeles.

The Huntingdon Library would not reveal the price it had paid for the collection of literary drafts, unpublished works, photographs and diaries, but it is believed to be several million dollars.

The British Library has said that it would have been unlikely to be able to compete with its rival on price.

Isherwood, who died at his home in LA in 1986 at the age of 81, wrote The Berlin Stories, a fictionalised account of pre-Nazi Berlin from 1929 to 1933.

Liza Minelli played the role of Sally Bowles on stage and in the 1972 film
The work first introduced the decadent character Sally Bowles and was adapted into the 1966 stage musical Cabaret and into a film in 1972.

The archives, which also include numerous manuscripts by Isherwood's close friend WH Auden, had been sought by other institutions, including the New York Public Library.

The material also contains unpublished poems by Auden as well as letters from the poet, and other literary figures including EM Forster, Stephen Spender, Somerset Maugham, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams and the reclusive JD Salinger.

Isherwood was born in rural Cheshire in 1904. His father, an army officer, was killed at the Battle of Ypres during World War I.

The author was a conscientious objector and emigrated to the US in 1939, settling in Los Angeles to be close to pacifists such as Aldous Huxley and Indian mystic Swami Prabhavantanda.

Author John Gregory Dunne told the Los Angeles Times: "It is a great archive and it belongs in the place where Christopher lived for nearly 50 years of his life.

"He treasured his friends and, equally, the hostility of his enemies. It was all grist for his mill."

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