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Extra resources for Christopher Isherwood
There is nothing to escape from and nothing to escape to. One is always alone. This escape from the knowledge of the self has been studied by theologians such as Martin Buber, who talks of 'reflexion': I term it reflexion when a man withdraws from accepting with his essential being another person in his particularity - a particularity which is by no means to be circumscribed by the circle of his own self. 18 Isherwood has described such a self in Norris- a man of surface gestures and actions that often forms well-worn stereotypes in fiction, but here the fictional characteristics have concentrated on satirical and moral comment which goes deeper than some accepted views of this Berlin writing.
It could be argued that fiction for him was important insofar as it may be autobiographical, moral and flexible in narrative method. Obviously, the problems of the 'Realism' of such forms have always been important, but his fiction is so embedded in subjectivity (often narcissism) that any attempt at objective reportage is quite arbitrary, despite the artistic success of the Berlin stories. To put it simply, the building up of scenes of sharp contrast, from social comment to autobiographical sequences, gives a structure of its own.
He says that he merely sympathizes with the attitude of the German Communist Party. Because Norris is so outstandingly a man who avoids facing the reality of his self, he is clearly an illustration of how Isherwood's plan for The Lost could have worked out in a profound way. His involvement with Bayer particularly adds to the depths of the novel as a political exploration, using comic irony to express contemporary comment, as in the lecture scene: A slight stir, as if of uneasiness, passed over the rows of listeners.