The World in the Evening
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Christopher Isherwood writes another quasi-fictional account of love, loss, and regret in 'The World in the Evening'. As in many Isherwood novels, the main character of 'World...' is caught in a contest between his personal egoism and the needs of friends and lovers. This novel is highly popularized because of the narrator's definition of high and low camp—significant concepts to homosexuals.
'The World...' is narrated in the first person by the protagonist Stephen Monk. His life experiences are broken into three sections in the novel: An End, Letters and Life, and A Beginning. Frequently, Monk experiences flashbacks triggered by other characters or the letters of his deceased wife, Elizabeth.
Marital problems cause Stephen Monk to return to his birthplace in Philadelphia. While there Monk undergoes a cathartic period of introspection. Though a member of the American jeunesse dorée, Monk is an emotional and observant man. 'The World in the Evening' chronicles his bric-a-brac search for love.
Characters in "The World in the Evening"
Monk is a traditional Isherwood protagonist in that he is self-absorbed, emotionally indiscriminate, and handsome. Elizabeth Rydell -- Monk’s first wife, author of books, including The World in the Evening (pp.
38 – 9)
Jane Armstrong (p. 226) – Monk’s second wife Aunt Sarah - Quaker friend of Monk, just called Monk’s “aunt” as an old friend of the family (p. 30) Gerda Mannheim – late 20’s, refugee from Nazi Germany (p. 31) Peter – Gerda’s husband (p. 39), feared dead in Germany but escaped from death camp (p. 270) Charles Kennedy – lover of Bob Wood (p. 105) Bob Wood – gay lover of Charles Kennedy, discusses pacifism with Monk (pp. 101 – 107) Alexander Stives – friend of Elizabeth who Monk sees as a competitor for Eliz.’s love (p. 86) Michael Drummond – German 18-year-old Monk meets (p. 153) and becomes lovers with Martha Chance – Quaker friend of Sarah Dr, & Mrs. Harper – Quaker friends of Sarah Mary Scrivener – friend of Elizabeth Rydell, recipient of letters (p. 42) Mr. Frosch – Monk’s lawyer (p. 46) Cecilia de Limbour – Elizabeth’s sister, recipient of letters (p. 65) Warren Geiger – American Monk meets at university (p. 69) Marie – Woman Monk picks up in France, his sexual tutor (p. 73) Annette – friend of Marie’s Monk dates briefly (p. 74) Trude – gives Monk gonorrhea (p. 76) Adrian – Elizabeth’s name for Monk (?) (p. 77) Terrence Storrs & Isabel - characters in Elizabeth’s World in the Evening novel (p. 118) Mariano Galdos – Elizabeth’s lover (& character in novel named Gurian), (pp. 129 – 31) Mary Scriven – correspondent with Elizabeth (p. 138) German doctor – emergency surgeon of Elizabeth in Greece (pp. 159 – 60) Lee, Dale, Ben, Jo, Joyce, Glen, Pierre -- friends of Jane (p. 217) Henri – Michael’s best friend, killed in war (p. 219) Shirley – Jane’s friend who introduces herself to Monk (p. 227) Martin Gates – one of Jane’s friends Monk suspects is the real father of their child (p. 258)
Homosexuality. Bisexuality. Infidelity. Quakerism. Pacificsm.
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