A Change of Heart
a historical novel of British authors 1929-1933
(fall 2003)

Dear Professor Izzo

I wanted to drop you a line and say how much I like A Change of Heart, which I'm teaching at Harvard as part of my Junior Tutorial in the History and Literature department.

I often teach and write about historical fiction and so was keen to read the novel - especially to see how it manages the combination of historical research with fictional writing, and by a scholar of the period (I'd argue t hat apart from A Change of Heart, only Richard Slotkin's Abe has done this well in recent years). As a scholar of the period myself I was bowled over by how historically accurate the book is - it's scrupulously accurate. But as a literary critic as well (the balancing act of being a scholar in History and Literature!), I was thrilled to also be impressed by the dazzling prose - I was entertained and moved, and found that the rich historical details didn't bog down a brilliant read. The novel is the ultimate harmony of disciplines - and as History and Literature, and American Studies, continue to grow as fields and undergraduate concentrations, it stands as an important example. By the end of the novel I felt closer to Auden, Spender, Huxley and Isherwood than I have ever felt - a strange thing, especially coming from a Brit-in-America! They came alive, as did their work, and I began to read their writing in a new way - suddenly able to employ a new historical empathy. In fact, I also use the book when lecturing about this hot topic of "historical empathy."

Zoe Trodd

Harvard University, Committee on Degrees in History & Literature

Whether you are an adept of Aldous Huxley, W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, or any of the artistic figures of the 1930s, you will be enlightened and entertained by David Garrett Izzo's remarkable A Change of Heart. His recreations are so astonishingly alive and accurate that you feel you are there at the creation, a sudden intimate of a brilliant and select group of artists and writers. Auden and Spender and others parry and debate, live and breathe again; the past recaptured! Izzo knows the period so deeply and has such powers of synthesis that even someone like myself who has been reading Auden for forty years will find fresh factsand will see material already known anew. Stunning, dense, just, and, in the largest and best sense, true."
Roger Lathbury: George Mason University

“David Garrett Izzo breathes new life into some of the great literary figures of the twentieth century. Historically accurate, fresh with energy, true to character (no easy feat), his prose offers rich new moments with Aldous Huxley, Christopher Isherwood, W. H. Auden, and others of their constellation. Izzo creates a wonderfully voyeuristic atmosphere."
Dana Sawyer: author of Aldous Huxley, a Biography

“A Change of Heart is a detailed portrait of a now mythical time, England and Germany in the 1930s, as told through the lives of real and fictional characters. Here are the young Christopher Isherwood, Wystan Auden and Stephen Spender, as well as the celebrated Aldous Huxley and D. H. Lawrence. David Garrett Izzo draws on his vast knowledge of the times, the people, and their work to create a novel reminiscent of Huxley’s Point Counterpoint and Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin yet all his own. Izzo recreates the lives and loves of young and established writers and artists, along with their artistic, philosophic and political battles.”
James J. Berg: editor, The Isherwood Century and Conversations with Christopher Isherwood

“Though daunting at the outset, Izzo's scholarship and wealth of information about the real lives of his central characters soon becomes the novel's strength. The richness of fact and detail--especially about the principles' psychological motivation, including, of course, for most of them their homosexuality--bring to life these figures of literature and literary stature. And in so doing give a deeper layer of meaning to their literature.”
Toby Johnson: LAMBDA winner 2001 for Gay Spirituality

A fictional account of the life of early 20th Century English Author Aldous Huxley.
Expertly written. Describes in detail Huxley’s literary contempories. Does a good job at covering European political intrigue of the 1930s; the struggles between the “isms” - fascism, Marxism, and democratism. Effectively outlines upper-crest British opinion of the coming war – mainly isolationist, during Hitler’s rise to power.
Independent Publishing Review

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