Introduced by Katherine Bucknell with images by Graham Crowley.
As Cambridge undergraduates in the mid-1920s, Christopher Isherwood and his old schoolfriend Edward Upward engaged in a literary attack on the dons and the ‘poshocracy’ – the fashionable and well-heeled students – by creating the bizarre fictional world of Mortmere, a village inhabited by surreal characters modelled on their Cambridge friends and acquaintances. The rector, Casmir Welken, resembles a ‘diseased goat’ and breeds angels in the church belfry; his sidekick Ronald Gunball is a dipsomaniac and an unashamed vulgarian; Sergeant Claptree, assisted by Ensign Battersea, keeps the Skull and Trumpet Inn; the mannish Miss Belmare, domineering and well starched, is sister to the squire, and Gustave Shreeve is headmaster of Frisbald College for boys. There are engrossing accounts of the writing of the Mortmere stories in Isherwood’s Lions and Shadows and in Upward’s No Home but the Struggle, but the stories have never before been published – with the one exception of Upward’s The Railway Accident. Dr Katherine Bucknell, the editor of W. H. Auden’s Juvenilia: Poems 1922-28 (Princeton University Press/Faber and Faber, 1994) and Isherwood’s journals, has written a fascinating introduction to the stories, and Graham Crowley’s drawings provide a lively accompaniment to them.
signed by Edward Upward, Katherine Bucknall & Graham Crowley