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Anthony Burgess
Manchester 25 Feb. 1917 - London 25 Nov. 1993 English novelist

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Anthony Burgess is the pen name of the polymath who was born John Burgess Wilson in Manchester, England on 25 February, 1917 to a Catholic family of Irish and Scottish ancestry. His mother, Elizabeth Burgess Wilson, and his only sister, Muriel, died in the influenza epidemic the following year, and the loss of his mother had a profound effect upon Burgess's life and work.

Burgess was educated at Xaverian College and the University of Manchester, graduating with a degree in English Literature in 1940. He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Army Educational Corps from 1940-1946. In 1942 he married his first wife, Llewela (Lynne) Jones, in Bournemouth while he was a sergeant and the musical director of an army dance band. For much of the Second World War, though, he was stationed in Gibraltar, where, as a member of the Army Educational Corps, he taught a course entitled 'The British Way and Purpose' to the troops.

After the war, Burgess moved with Lynne to Adderbury, in Oxfordshire, and taught at the nearby Banbury Grammar School. While there he wrote his first two novels, A Vision of Battlements, which drew upon his experiences in Gibraltar, and The Worm and the Ring, although neither were published until years later.

In 1954, after the rejection of both a collection of poems and A Vision of Battlements, he and Lynne moved to Kuala Kangsar, Malaya, where Burgess taught as an Education Officer at the Malay College for the English Colonial Service. In 1956, his first novel to be published, Time for a Tiger, appeared under the name of Anthony Burgess. He continued to balance his teaching and writing careers, completing his Malayan Trilogy with the novels The Enemy in the Blanket (1958) and Beds in the East (1959). Lynne and Burgess moved from Malaya to Brunei but in 1959, he collapsed while teaching; he returned to England with a suspected brain tumour. His prolific literary output as a novelist began at this time, as he sought to provide
a financial cushion for Lynne after his death; by the end of 1962 he had published seven novels, including The Doctor is Sick, The Worm and the Ring, and A Clockwork Orange, and two translations upon which he had collaborated with Lynne. He also adopted a new disguise, publishing two novels, One Hand Clapping (1962) and Inside Mr. Enderby (1963), under the pseudonym Joseph Kell. In addition, his work as a frequent commentator for the BBC began in 1961. Clearly, Burgess was not dying.

The following decade was prolific, with Burgess publishing another five novels before the decade was out, as well as a number of critical works, including his abridged edition of James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. However, in 1968, his wife Lynne died of liver failure shortly after Burgess returned from discussing a script for his novel, Nothing Like the Sun, with Warner Brothers in Los Angeles. He later married Liliana (Liana) Macellari, an Italian linguist and translator. He and Liana, together with their son, Paolo Andrea (later known as Andrew), soon left England for Malta, beginning a peripatetic existence that was to last the remainder of Burgess's life. They lived in various European countries - including Rome and Bracciano, Italy and Lugano, Switzerland - before finally settling in Monaco. Throughout this period Burgess continued his prodigious output as a writer, critic, journalist, broadcaster and composer. Ultimately, he wrote over fifty books, including thirty novels, in addition to his other creative efforts. In the last twenty years of his life he also composed a tremendous amount of music, possibly stimulated in this activity by the commission and subsequent 1975 performance of his Symphony (No. 3) in C by the University of Iowa.

Anthony Burgess returned to London in the early 1990s, shortly before his death of lung cancer on 22 November 1993. His son Andrew died in London in 2002, while Liana Burgess still lives in Monaco.

- www.anthonyburgess.org
bookweb  
ON ANTHONY BURGESS' BOOKSHELF

GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS
Gerard Manley Hopkins: the Major Works
Gerard Manley Hopkins,

JOYCE
Ulysses
James Joyce, 1922

Finnegans Wake
James Joyce, 1939

ORWELL
Nineteen Eighty-Four
George Orwell, 1949

SHAKESPEARE
Hamlet
William Shakespeare, 1602

King Richard II
William Shakespeare, 1595

THE CHURCH
On Free Choice of the Will
Bishop of Hippo Saint Augustine, 388-395

BOOKS BY ANTHONY BURGESS:

A Clockwork Orange
1962
In Burgess's infamous nightmare vision of youth culture in revolt, 15-year-old Alex and his friends set out on a diabolical orgy of robbery, rape, torture and murder. Alex is jailed for his teenage delinquency and the state tries to reform him - but at what cost?
WHAT TO READ AFTER A CLOCKWORK ORANGE?

DYSTOPIA: THE FUTURE AS NIGHTMARE
Brave New World
Aldous Huxley, 1932
Into the neatly programmed 'Brave New World' of test-tube babies and drug-controlled happiness, misfit Bernard Marx brings the innocent Savage. Huxley's vision of the future is also a chilling comment on the present.

Possibility of an Island
Michel Houellebecq, 2005
'Who among you deserves eternal life?' Houellebecq's novel, which moves between Paris, Andalucia and Lanzarotte, and between the near and far-distant future, is a thought provoking, sometimes shocking, and ultimately moving examination of the modern world, the trials of old age and the death of love.

Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury, 1953

The Handmaid's Tale
Margaret Atwood, 1985

MUSIC CAN BE HARMFUL TO YOUR HEALTH
Kreutzer Sonata
Leo N. Tolstoy, 1890
When Pozdnyshev suspects his wife of having an affair with her music partner, his jealousy consumes him and drives him to murder.

American Psycho
Bret Easton Ellis, 1991
In a black satire of the eighties, a decade of naked greed and unparalleled callousness, a successful Wall Street yuppie cannot get enough of anything -including murder.

TELL IT IN YOUR OWN WORDS
The Catcher in the Rye
J.D. Salinger, 1951
A 16-year old American boy relates in his own words the experiences he goes through at school and after, and reveals with unusual candour the workings of his own mind.

Blue Mondays
Arnon Grunberg, 1994
A disenfranchised young slacker prowls the seamy and sleazy back alleys of Amsterdam's red-light district.

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
Roddy Doyle, 1993

ON ANTHONY BURGESS' BOOKSHELF

THE CHURCH
On Free Choice of the Will
Bishop of Hippo Saint Augustine, 388-395

Earthly Powers
1980
About a writer and the man to whom he is linked through family ties, an earthy Italian priest destined to become Pope.
Inside Mr. Enderby
1963
The humorous escapades of Enderby - poet, social critic, comrade and Catholic.
ON ANTHONY BURGESS' BOOKSHELF

THE FUTURE LOOKS BLEAK
Nineteen Eighty-Four
George Orwell, 1949

1985
1978
In an interview with himself, Burgess explores key aspects of Orwell's 1984.
The End of the World News
1982
Three separate and apparently unrelated narratives, one concerning a future voyage into space, one based on the life of Trotsky and one on the life of Marx.
The Kingdom of the Wicked
1985
An irreverent account of the early days of Christianity.
The Pianoplayers
1986
Partly based on Burgess's childhood experiences - his father was a piano player in Manchester pubs.
Nothing Like the Sun
1964
The story of Shakespeare's love life.
Here Comes Everybody
1965
'An Introduction to James Joyce for the Ordinary Reader'
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The Ledge
editor-in-chief: Stacey Knecht, info@the-ledge.com
Thanks to: De digitale pioniers and
Het Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
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Copyright: Pieter Steinz, Stacey Knecht
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