Becoming a Londoner - A Diary
The first volume of National Book Award finalist David Plante's extraordinary diaries of a life lived among the artistic elite in 1960s London.
“Nikos and I live together as lovers, as everyone knows, and we seem to be accepted because it's known that we are lovers. In fact, we are, according to the law, criminals in our making love with each other, but it is as if the laws don't apply. It is as if all the conventions of sex and clothes and art and music and drink and drugs don't apply here in London . . .”
In the 1960s, strangers to their new city and from the different worlds of New York and Athens, David and Nikos embarked on a life together, a partnership that would endure for forty years. At a moment of “absolute respect for differences,” London offered a freedom in love unattainable in their previous homes. Friendships with Stephen and Natasha Spender, Francis Bacon, Sonia Orwell, W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, Steven Runciman, David Hockney, and R. B. Kitaj, meetings with such Bloomsbury luminaries as E. M. Forster and Duncan Grant, and a developing friendship with Philip Roth living in London with Claire Bloom, opened up worlds within worlds; connections appeared to crisscross, invisibly, through the air, interconnecting everyone.
David Plante has kept a diary of his life for more than half a century. Both a deeply personal memoir and a fascinating and significant work of cultural history, this first volume spans his first twenty years in London, beginning in the mid-sixties, and pieces together fragments of diaries, notes, sketches, and drawings to reveal a beautiful, intimate portrait of a relationship and a luminous evocation of a world of writers, poets, artists, and thinkers.