Anthony Burgess in 1986. Photo by Zazie44. Licensed under Creative Commons, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Anthony Burgess
Born February 25 1917(1917-Template:MONTHNUMBER-25)
Harpurhey, Manchester, England
Died November 22 1993(1993-Template:MONTHNUMBER-22) (aged 76)
St. John's Wood, London, England
Pen name Anthony Burgess, John Burgess Wilson, Joseph Kell[1]
Occupation Novelist, critic, composer, librettist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, travel writer, broadcaster, translator, linguist, educationalist
Language English
Nationality British
Period 1956–1993
Genres historical fiction, philosophical novel, satire, epic, spy fiction, horror fiction, biography, literary criticism, travel literature, autobiography
Subjects exile, colonialism, Islam, faith, lust, marriage, evil, alcoholism, homosexuality, linguistics, pornography
Literary movement Modernism

John Burgess Wilson (25 February 1917 - November 1993), who published under the pen name Anthony Burgess, was an English poet, novelist, playwright, composer, linguist, translator and critic.



The dystopian satire A Clockwork Orange is Burgess's most famous novel, though he dismissed it as one of his lesser works.[2] It was adapted into a controversial 1971 film by Stanley Kubrick, which Burgess said was chiefly responsible for the book's popularity. Burgess produced numerous other novels, including the Enderby quartet, and Earthly Powers. He was a prominent critic, writing acclaimed studies of classic writers such as William Shakespeare, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, and Ernest Hemingway. In 2008, The Times placed Burgess number 17 on their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".[3] Burgess was also an accomplished musician and linguist. He composed over 250 musical works, including a 1st symphony around age 18, wrote a number of libretti, and translated, among other works, Cyrano de Bergerac, Oedipus the King and Carmen.


Burgess was born John Burgess Wilson in Harpurhey, a suburb of Manchester, to Catholic parents.[4] He was known in childhood as Jack Wilson, Little Jack, and Johnny Eagle.[5] At his confirmation, the name Anthony was added and he became John Anthony Burgess Wilson. He began using the pen name Anthony Burgess on publication of his 1956 novel Time for a Tiger.[4]

His mother Elizabeth died at the age of 30 at home on 19 November 1918, during the 1918–1919 Spanish flu pandemic. The causes listed on her death certificate were influenza, acute pneumonia, and cardiac failure. His sister Muriel had died 4 days earlier on 15 November from influenza, broncho-pneumonia, and cardiac failure, aged eight.[6] Burgess believed that he was resented by his father, Joseph Wilson, for having survived.[7]

After the death of his mother, Burgess was raised by his maternal aunt, Ann Bromley, in Crumpsall with her 2 daughters. During this time, Burgess's father worked as a bookkeeper for a beef market by day, and in the evening played piano at a public house in Miles Platting.[5] After he married the landlady of this pub, Margaret Dwyer, in 1922, Burgess was raised by the couple.[8] By 1924 the couple had established a tobacconist and off-licence business with 4 properties.[9]

On 18 April 1938, Joseph Wilson died from cardiac failure, pleurisy, and influenza at the age of 55 leaving no inheritance.[10]

Burgess has said of his largely solitary childhood: "I was either distractedly persecuted or ignored. I was one despised ... Ragged boys in gangs would pounce on the well-dressed like myself."[11] He attended St. Edmund's Roman Catholic Elementary School before moving on to Bishop Bilsborrow Memorial Elementary School in Moss Side.[12] He later reflected: "When I went to school I was able to read. At the Manchester elementary school I attended, most of the children could not read, so I was ... a little apart, rather different from the rest."[13] Good grades resulted in a place at Xaverian College (1928–1937).[4] As a young child he did not care about music, until he heard on his home-built radio "a quite incredible flute solo," which he characterized as "sinuous, exotic, erotic," and became spellbound.[14] Eight minutes later the announcer told him he had been listening to Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune by Claude Debussy. He referred to this as a "psychedelic moment ... a recognition of verbally inexpressible spiritual realities."[14] When Burgess announced to his family that he wanted to be a composer, they objected as "there was no money in it."[14] Music was not taught at his school, but at about age 14 he taught himself to play the piano.[15]

Burgess had originally hoped to study music at university, but the music department at the Victoria University of Manchester turned down his application due to poor grades in physics.[16] So instead he studied English language and literature there between 1937 and 1940, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts. His thesis concerned Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, and he graduated with an upper 2nd-class honours, which he found disappointing.[17] When grading one of Burgess's term papers, historian A.J.P. Taylor, wrote: "Bright ideas insufficient to conceal lack of knowledge."[18]

Burgess met Llewela (Lynne) Isherwood Jones at the University where she was studying economics, politics and modern history, graduating in 1942 with an upper 2nd-class.[19] Burgess and Jones were married on 22 January 1942.[4]

Military serviceEdit

Burgess spent 6 weeks in 1940 as an army recruit in Eskbank before becoming a Nursing Orderly Class 3 in the Royal Army Medical Corps. During his service he was unpopular and was involved in incidents such as knocking off a corporal's cap and polishing the floor of a corridor to make people slip.[20] In 1941 Burgess was pursued by military police of the British Armed Forces for desertion after overstaying his leave from Morpeth military base with his bride Lynne. In 1942 he asked to be transferred to the Army Educational Corps and despite his loathing of authority he was promoted to sergeant.[21] During the blackout his pregnant wife Lynne was attacked by four GI deserters and as a result she lost the child.[4] Burgess, stationed at the time in Gibraltar, was denied leave to see her.[22] At his stationing in Gibraltar, which he later wrote about in A Vision of Battlements, he worked as a training college lecturer in speech and drama, teaching alongside Ann McGlinn in German, French and Spanish.[23] McGlinn's communist ideology would have a major influence on his later novel A Clockwork Orange. Burgess played a key role in "The British Way and Purpose" programme, designed to reintroduce members of the forces to the peacetime socialism of the post-war years in Britain.[24] He was an instructor for the Central Advisory Council for Forces Education of the Ministry of Education.[4] Burgess' flair for languages was noticed by army intelligence and he took part in debriefings of Dutch expatriates and Free French who found refuge in Gibraltar during the war. In the neighbouring Spanish town of La Línea de la Concepción he was arrested for insulting General Franco but released from custody shortly after the incident. (Citation needed)

Early teaching careerEdit

Burgess left the army in 1946 with the rank of sergeant-major and was for the next 4 years a lecturer in speech and drama at the Mid-West School of Education near Wolverhampton and at the Bamber Bridge Emergency Teacher Training College near Preston.[4]

In late 1950 he worked as a secondary school teacher at Banbury Grammar School (now Banbury School) teaching English literature. In addition to his teaching duties he supervised sports and ran the school's drama society. He organised a number of amateur theatrical events in his spare time. These involved local people and students and included productions of T. S. Eliot's Sweeney Agonistes.(Citation needed)

With financial assistance provided by Lynne's father the couple was able to put a down payment on a cottage in the village of Adderbury, close to Banbury. He named the cottage "Little Gidding" after Eliot's Four Quartets and Aldous Huxley's The Gioconda Smile. He wrote several articles for the local newspaper, the Banbury Guardian.(Citation needed)


In 1954, Burgess joined the British Colonial Service as a teacher and education officer in Malaya, initially stationed at Kuala Kangsar in Perak, in what were then known as the Federated Malay States. Here he taught at the Malay College, dubbed "the Eton of the East" and (now Malay College Kuala Kangsar - MCKK). In addition to his teaching duties, he was a housemaster in charge of students of the preparatory school, who were housed at a Victorian mansion known as "King's Pavilion."[25] A variety of the music he wrote there was influenced by the country, notably Sinfoni Melayu for orchestra and brass band, which included cries of Merdeka (independence) from the audience. No score, however, is extant.[26]

Burgess and his wife had occupied a noisy apartment where privacy was minimal, and this caused resentment. Following a dispute with the Malay College's principal about this, Burgess was reposted to the Malay Teachers' Training College at Kota Bharu, Kelantan.[27] Burgess attained fluency in Malay, spoken and written, achieving distinction in the examinations in the language set by the colonial office. He was rewarded with a salary increment for his proficiency in the language.

He devoted some of his free time in Malaya to creative writing "as a sort of gentlemanly hobby, because I knew there wasn't any money in it," and published his earliest novels: Time for a Tiger, The Enemy in the Blanket and Beds in the East.[28] These became known as The Malayan Trilogy and were later published in 1 volume as The Long Day Wanes.


After a brief period of leave in Britain during 1958, Burgess took up a further Eastern post, this time at the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin College in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. Brunei had been a British protectorate since 1888, and was not to achieve independence until 1984.

In the sultanate, Burgess sketched the novel that, when it was published in 1961, was to be entitled Devil of a State and, although it dealt with Brunei, for libel reasons the action had to be transposed to an imaginary East African territory similar to Zanzibar, named Dunia. In his autobiography Little Wilson and Big God (1987) Burgess writes: "This novel was, is, about Brunei, which was renamed Naraka, Malayo-Arabic for 'hell.' Little invention was needed to contrive a large cast of unbelievable characters and a number of interwoven plots. Though completed in 1958, the work was not published until 1961, for what it was worth it was made a choice of the book society. Heinemann, my publisher, was doubtful about publishing it: it might be libelous. I had to change the setting from Brunei to an East African one. Heinemann was right to be timorous. In early 1958, The Enemy in the Blanket appeared and this at once provoked a libel suit."[29]

About this time Burgess collapsed in a Brunei classroom while teaching history and was diagnosed as having an inoperable brain tumour.[16] Burgess was given just a year to live, prompting him to write several novels to get money to provide for his widow.[16] He gave a different account, however, to Jeremy Isaacs in a Face to Face interview on the BBC The Late Show (21 March 1989). He said "Looking back now I see that I was driven out of the Colonial Service. I think possibly for political reasons that were disguised as clinical reasons."[30] He alluded to this in an interview with Don Swaim, explaining that his wife Lynne had said something "obscene" to the British Queen's consort, the Duke of Edinburgh, during an official visit, and the colonial authorities turned against him.[31][32] He had already earned their displeasure, he told Swaim, by writing articles in the newspaper in support of the revolutionary opposition party the Parti Rakyat Brunei, and for his friendship with its leader Dr. Azahari.[31][32]

Repatriate yearsEdit

Burgess was later repatriated Template:When and relieved of his position in Brunei. He spent some time in the neurological ward of a London hospital (see The Doctor is Sick) where he underwent cerebral tests that found no illness. On discharge, benefiting from a sum of money his wife had inherited from her father, together with their savings built up over 6 years in the East, he decided to become a full-time writer.(Citation needed) The couple lived first in an apartment in the town of Hove, near Brighton. They later moved to a semi-detached house called "Applegarth" in Etchingham, approximately a mile from the Jacobean house where Rudyard Kipling had lived in Burwash, and one mile from the Robertsbridge home of Malcolm Muggeridge.(Citation needed) On the death of Burgess's father-in-law, the couple used their inheritance to decamp to a terraced town house in Chiswick. This provided convenient access to the White City BBC television studios where he later became a frequent guest. During these years Burgess became a regular drinking partner of the novelist William S. Burroughs. Their meetings took place in London and Tangiers.(Citation needed)

A sea voyage the couple took with the Baltic Line Template:When from Tilbury to Leningrad resulted in the novel Honey for the Bears. He wrote in his autobiographical You've Had Your Time (1990), that in re-learning Russian at this time, he found inspiration for the Russian-based slang Nadsat that he created for A Clockwork Orange, going on to note "I would resist to the limit any publisher's demand that a glossary be provided."[33][Notes 1]

Liana Macellari, an Italian translator 12 years younger than Burgess, came across Burgess' novels Inside Mr Enderby and A Clockwork Orange while writing about English fiction.[34] The couple met in 1963 over lunch in Chiswick and began an affair. In 1964 Liana gave birth to Burgess' son, Paolo Andrea. The affair was hidden from Burgess's now alcoholic wife, whom he refused to leave for fear of offending his cousin George Patrick Dwyer, then Catholic Bishop of Leeds.[35]

Lynne Burgess died from cirrhosis of the liver, on 20 March 1968.[4][34][35] 6 months later, in September 1968, Burgess married Liana, acknowledging her 4-year-old boy as his own, although the birth certificate listed Roy Halliday, Liana's previous partner, as the father.[34] Paolo Andrea (also known as Andrew Burgess Wilson) died in London in 2002, aged 37.[36]

Tax exileEdit

Burgess was a Conservative (though, as he clarified in an interview with The Paris Review, his political views could be considered "really a kind of anarchism"[37]), a (lapsed) Catholic and Monarchist, harbouring a distaste for all republics. He believed that socialism for the most part was "ridiculous" but did "concede that socialized medicine is a priority in any civilized country today."[37] To avoid the 90% tax the family would have incurred due to their high income, they left Britain and toured Europe in a Bedford Dormobile motorhome. During their travels through France and across the Alps, Burgess wrote in the back of the van as Liana drove. In this period, he wrote novels and produced film scripts for Lew Grade and Franco Zeffirelli.[35] His earliest place of residence after leaving England was Lija, Malta (1968-1970). Problems with the Maltese state censor later prompted a move to Italy. The Burgesses maintained a flat in Rome, a country house in Bracciano, and a property in Montalbuccio. On hearing rumours of a mafia plot to kidnap Paolo-Andrea while the family was staying in Rome, Burgess decided to move to Monaco in 1975.[38] Burgess had a villa in Provence, in Callian of the Var, France, and an apartment just off Baker Street, London. (Citation needed)

Burgess lived for 2 years in the United States, working as a visiting professor at Princeton University with the creative writing program (1970) and as a distinguished professor at the City College of New York (1972). At City College he was a close colleague and friend of Joseph Heller. He went on to teach creative writing at Columbia University and was writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1969) and at the University at Buffalo (1976). He lectured on the novel at the University of Iowa in 1975. Eventually he settled in Monaco in 1976, where he was active in the local community, becoming a co-founder in 1984 of the Princess Grace Irish Library, a centre for Irish cultural studies. During this time, Burgess spent much time at his chalet 2 kilometres outside Lugano, Switzerland.

Antony Burgess Ashes

Resting place of the ashes of Anthony Burgess, author, in Monaco cemetry. Photo by Paul Walsh, 2009. Licensed under Creative Commons, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


Burgess died on 22 November 1993 from lung cancer, at the Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth in London. His ashes were interred to the cemetery in Monaco. The epitaph on Burgess's marble memorial stone, reads "Abba Abba." The phrase has several connotations. It means "Father, father" in Aramaic, Arabic, Hebrew and other Semitic languages. It is Burgess's initials forwards and backwards; part of the rhyme scheme for the Petrarchan sonnet; and the title of Burgess's 22nd novel, concerning the death of Keats. Eulogies at his memorial service at St Paul's, Covent Garden, London in 1994 were delivered by the journalist Auberon Waugh and the novelist William Boyd.(Citation needed) The Times obituary heralded the author as "a great moralist."[39] At his death he was a multi-millionaire, leaving a Europe-wide property portfolio of houses and apartments.(Citation needed)


  1. A British edition of A Clockwork Orange (Penguin 1972 ISBN 0-14-003219-3) and at least one American edition did have a glossary. A note added, "For help with the Russian, I am indebted to the kindness of my colleague Nora Montesinos and a number of correspondents."



His Malayan trilogy The Long Day Wanes was Burgess's earliest published venture into the art of fiction. Its three books are Time for a Tiger, The Enemy in the Blanket and Beds in the East. It was Burgess's ambition to become "the true fictional expert on Malaya."(Citation needed) In these works, Burgess was working in the tradition established by Kipling for British India, and Conrad and Maugham for Southeast Asia. Conrad, Maugham and Greene made no effort to learn local languages, but Burgess operated more in the mode of Orwell, who had a good command of Urdu and Burmese (necessary for Orwell's work as a police officer) and Kipling, who spoke Hindi (having learnt it as a child). Like his fellow English expats in Asia, Burgess had excellent spoken and written command of his operative language(s), both as a novelist and speaker, including Malay.

Burgess's repatriate years (c. 1960–69) produced Enderby and The Right to an Answer, which touches on the theme of death and dying, and One Hand Clapping, a satire on the vacuity of popular culture. The Worm and the Ring (1961) had to be withdrawn from circulation under the threat of libel action from one of Burgess's former colleagues.(Citation needed)

His dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange was published in 1962. It was inspired initially by an incident during the Second World War in which his wife Lynne was robbed and assaulted in London during the blackout by deserters from the U.S. Army. The event may have contributed to her subsequent miscarriage. The book was an examination of free will and morality. The young anti-hero, Alex, captured after a short career of violence and mayhem, undergoes a course of aversion therapy treatment to curb his violent tendencies. This results in making him defenseless against other people and unable to enjoy some of his favorite music that, besides violence, had been an intense pleasure for him. In the non-fiction book Flame Into Being (1985) Burgess described A Clockwork Orange as "a jeu d'esprit knocked off for money in three weeks, it became known as the raw material for a film which seemed to glorify sex and violence." He added "the film made it easy for readers of the book to misunderstand what it was about, and the misunderstanding will pursue me till I die." Near the time of publication the final chapter was cut from the American edition of the book. Burgess had written A Clockwork Orange with twenty-one chapters, meaning to match the age of majority. "21 is the symbol of human maturity, or used to be, since at 21 you got to vote and assumed adult responsibility," Burgess wrote in a foreword for a 1986 edition. Needing a paycheck and thinking that the publisher was "being charitable in accepting the work at all," Burgess accepted the deal and allowed A Clockwork Orange to be published in the U.S. with the twenty-first chapter omitted. Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation of A Clockwork Orange was based on the American edition, and thus helped to perpetuate the loss of the last chapter.

In Martin Seymour-Smith's Novels and Novelists: A Guide to the World of Fiction, Burgess related that he would often prepare a synopsis with a name-list before beginning a project. Seymour-Smith wrote: "Burgess believes overplanning is fatal to creativity and regards his unconscious mind and the act of writing itself as indispensable guides. He does not produce a draft of a whole novel but prefers to get one page finished before he goes on to the next, which involves a good deal of revision and correction."

Nothing Like the Sun is a fictional recreation of Shakespeare's love-life and an examination of the supposedly partly syphilitic sources of the bard's imaginative vision. The novel, which drew on Edgar I. Fripp's 1938 biography Shakespeare, Man and Artist, won critical acclaim and placed Burgess among the first rank novelists of his generation. M/F (1971) was listed by the writer himself as one of the works of which he was most proud. Beard's Roman Women is consideredTemplate:By whom to be his least successful novel. Burgess has frequently been criticisedTemplate:By whom for writing too many novels and too quickly. Beard was revealing on a personal level, dealing with the death of his 1st wife, his bereavement, and the affair that led to his second marriage.

In Napoleon Symphony, Burgess brought Bonaparte to life by shaping the novel's structure to Beethoven's Eroica symphony. The novel contains a portrait of an Arab and Muslim society under occupation by a Christian western power (Egypt by Catholic France). In the 1980s, religious themes began to feature heavily (The Kingdom of the Wicked, Man of Nazareth, Earthly Powers). Though Burgess lapsed from Catholicism early in his youth, the influence of the Catholic "training" and worldview remained strong in his work all his life. This is notable in the discussion of free will in A Clockwork Orange, and in the apocalyptic vision of devastating changes in the Catholic Church – due to what can be understood as Satanic influence – in Earthly Powers (1980).

Burgess kept working through his final illness and was writing on his deathbed. The late novel Any Old Iron is a generational saga of two families, one Russian-Welsh, the other Jewish, encompassing the sinking of the Titanic, World War I, the Russian Revolution, the Spanish Civil War, World War II, the early years of the State of Israel, and the rediscovery of Excalibur. A Dead Man in Deptford, about Christopher Marlowe, is a companion novel to Nothing like the Sun. The verse novel Byrne was published posthumously.

Critical studiesEdit

Burgess started his career as a critic. Aimed at newcomers to the subject, his book English Literature, A Survey for Students is still used in schools today. He followed this with The Novel To-day and The Novel Now: A Student's Guide to Contemporary Fiction. He wrote the Joyce studies Here Comes Everybody: An Introduction to James Joyce for the Ordinary Reader (also published as Re Joyce) and Joysprick: An Introduction to the Language of James Joyce. Also published was A Shorter 'Finnegans Wake,' Burgess's abridgement. His 1970 Encyclopædia Britannica entry on the novel (under "Novel, the") is regarded as a classic of the genre.Template:By whom Burgess wrote full-length critical studies of William Shakespeare, Ernest Hemingway and D. H. Lawrence as well as Ninety-Nine Novels: The Best in English since 1939. His published lecture Obscenity and the Arts explores issues of pornography.


Burgess wrote the screenplays for Moses the Lawgiver (Gianfranco De Bosio 1975), Jesus of Nazareth (Franco Zeffirelli 1977), and A.D. (Stuart Cooper, 1985). Burgess was co-writer of the script for the TV series Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson (1980). The film treatments he produced include Amundsen, Attila, The Black Prince, Cyrus the Great, Dawn Chorus, The Dirty Tricks of Bertoldo, Eternal Life, Onassis, Puma, Samson and Delila, Schreber, The Sexual Habits of the English Middle Class, Shah, That Man Freud and Uncle Ludwig. Burgess devised a Stone Age language for La Guerre du Feu (Quest for Fire) (Jean-Jacques Annaud, 1981). He penned many unpublished scripts, including Will! or The Bawdy Bard about Shakespeare, based on the novel Nothing Like The Sun. Encouraged by the success his novel Tremor of Intent (a parody of James Bond adventures), Burgess wrote a screenplay for The Spy Who Loved Me, also rejected.(Citation needed)


Burgess was an accomplished musician and composed regularly throughout his life, noting that, in the way that others might enjoy yachting or golf, he wrote music.[40] Several of his pieces were broadcast during his lifetime on BBC Radio. His Symphony No. 3 in C was premiered by the University of Iowa orchestra in Iowa City in 1975. Burgess described his Sinfoni Melayu as an attempt to "combine the musical elements of the country into a synthetic language which called on native drums and xylophones." The structure of Napoleon Symphony: A Novel in Four Movements (1974) was modelled on Beethoven's Eroica symphony, while Mozart and the Wolf Gang (1991) mirrors the sound and rhythm of Mozartian composition, among other things attempting a fictional representation of Symphony No.40. Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 features prominently in A Clockwork Orange (and in Stanley Kubrick's film version of the novel). Many of his unpublished compositions are listed in This Man and Music.

Burgess produced a translation of Bizet's Carmen which was performed by the English National Opera, and wrote for the 1973 Broadway musical Cyrano, using his own adaptation of the original Rostand play as his basis. He created Blooms of Dublin in 1982, an operetta based on James Joyce's Ulysses (televised for the BBC) and wrote a libretto for Weber's Oberon, performed by the Edinburgh-based Scottish Opera.

On the BBC's Desert Island Discs radio programme in 1966, Burgess chose as his favourite music Purcell's "Rejoice in the Lord Alway"; Bach's Goldberg Variations No. 13; Elgar's Symphony No. 1 in A flat major; Wagner's "Walter's Trial Song" from 'Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg; Debussy's "Fêtes"; Lambert's The Rio Grande; Walton's Symphony No. 1 in B flat; and Vaughan Williams' On Wenlock Edge.


Burgess was a frequent guest-speaker on the BBC Radio 4 programme Start the Week, broadcast on Monday mornings during the 1980s.


"Burgess's linguistic training," wrote Raymond Chapman and Tom McArthur in The Oxford Companion to the English Language, "is shown in dialogue enriched by distinctive pronunciations and the niceties of register." During his years in Malaya, and after he had mastered Jawi, the Arabic script adapted for Malay, Burgess taught himself the Persian language, after which he produced a translation of Eliot's The Waste Land into Persian (unpublished). He worked on an anthology of the best of English literature translated into Malay, which failed to achieve publication. Burgess's published translations include Cyrano de Bergerac,[41] Oedipus the King[42] and Carmen.

Burgess's interest in language was reflected in the invented, Anglo-Russian teen slang of A Clockwork Orange (Nadsat), and in the movie Quest for Fire (1981), for which he invented a prehistoric language (Ulam) for the characters. His interest is reflected in his characters. In The Doctor is Sick, Dr Edwin Spindrift is a lecturer in linguistics who escapes from a hospital ward which is peopled, as the critic Saul Maloff put it in a review, with "brain cases who happily exemplify varieties of English speech." Burgess, who had lectured on phonetics at the University of Birmingham in the late 1940s, investigates the field of linguistics in Language Made Plain and A Mouthful of Air.

The depth of Burgess's multilingual proficiency came under discussion in Roger Lewis's 2002 biography. Lewis claimed that during production in Malaysia of the BBC documentary A Kind of Failure (1982), Burgess's supposedly fluent Malay was unable to be understood by waitresses at a restaurant where they were filming. It was claimed that the documentary's director deliberately kept these moments intact in the film in order to expose Burgess's linguistic pretensions. A letter from David Wallace that appeared in the magazine of the London Independent on Sunday newspaper on 25 November 2002 shed light on the affair. Wallace's letter read, in part: "... the tale was inaccurate. It tells of Burgess, the great linguist, 'bellowing Malay at a succession of Malayan waitresses' but 'unable to make himself understood.' The source of this tale was a 20-year-old BBC documentary ... [The suggestion was] that the director left the scene in, in order to poke fun at the great author. Not so, and I can be sure, as I was that director ... The story as seen on television made it clear that Burgess knew that these waitresses were not Malay. It was a Chinese restaurant and Burgess's point was that the ethnic Chinese had little time for the government-enforced national language, Bahasa Malaysia [i.e. Malay]. Burgess may well have had an accent, but he did speak the language; it was the girls in question who did not." Lewis may not have been fully aware of the fact that a quarter of Malaysia's population is made up of Hokkien- and Cantonese-speaking Chinese. However, Malay had been installed as the National Language with the passing of the Language Act of 1967. By 1982 all national primary and secondary schools in Malaysia would have been teaching with Bahasa Melayu as a base language (see Harold Crouch, Government and Society in Malaysia, Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1996).


  • Burgess garnered the Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres distinction of France and became a Monégasque Commandeur de Merite Culturel.
  • He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
  • He took honorary degrees from St Andrews, Birmingham, and Manchester universities.
  • Earthly Powers was shortlisted for, but failed to win, the 1980 English Booker Prize for fiction (the prize went to William Golding for Rites of Passage).


Main article: Anthony Burgess bibliography


  • Byrne: A novel (verse novel). London: Hutchinson, 1995; New York: Carroll & Braf, 1995.
  • Revolutionary Sonnets, and other poems (edited by Kevin Jackson). Manchester, UK: Carcanet Press, 2002.


  • The Right to an Answer. London: Heinemann, 1960; New York: Norton, 1960.
  • The Doctor is Sick. London: Heinemann, 1960; New York: Norton, 1960.
  • The Worm and the Ring. London: Heinemann, 1961.
  • Devil of a State. London: Heinemann, 1961; New York: Norton, 1961.
  • One Hand Clapping (as Joseph Kell). London: Peter Davies, 1961; New York: Random House, 1961.
  • A Clockwork Orange. London: Heinemann, 1962; Cutchogue, NY: Buccaneer, 1962.
  • The Wanting Seed. London: Heinemann, 1962; New York: Norton, 1962.
  • Honey for the Bears. London: Heinemann, 1963; New York: Norton, 1963.
  • The Eve of St. Venus. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1964; New York: Norton, 1964.
  • A Vision of Battlements. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1965; New York: Norton, 1965.
  • Tremor of Intent: An eschatological spy novel. London: Heinemann, 1966; New York: Norton, 1966.
  • M/F. London: Cape, 1971; New York: Knopf, 1971.
  • Napoleon Symphony: A novel in four movements. London: Cape, 1973; New York: Knopf, 1974.
  • Beard's Roman Women. London: Hutchinson, 1976; New York: McGraw-Hill, 1976.
  • Abba Abba. London: Minerva, 1977; Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown, 1977.
  • 1985. London: Hutchinson, 1978; Boston & Toronto: Little Brown, 1978.
  • Man of Nazareth. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979; London: Methuen, 1980.
  • Earthly Powers. London: Huthinson, 1980; New York: Simon & Schuster, 1980.
  • The End of the World News: An entertainment. London: Hutchinson, 1982; New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983.
  • The Kingdom of the Wicked. London: Hutchinson, 1985; New York: Arbor House, 1985.
  • The Pianoplayers. London: Hutchinson, 1986; New York: Arbor House, 1986.
  • Any Old Iron. London: Hutchinson, 1988; New York: Random House, 1989.
  • Mozart and the Wolf Gang (1991)
  • A Dead Man in Deptford. London: Hutchinson, 1993; New York: Carroll & Graf, 1993.

Malayan TrilogyEdit

  • Time for a Tiger (Volume 1). London: Heinemann, 1956.
  • The Enemy in the Blanket (Volume 2). London: Heinemann, 1958.
  • Beds in the East (Volume 3). . London: Heinemann, 1959.
  • The Long Day Wanes: A Malayan trilogy. London: Heinemann, 1959; New York: Norton, 1959
    • also published as The Malayan Trilogy. London: Minerva, 1996.

Enderby quartetEdit

  • Inside Mr. Enderby (Volume 1; as "Joseph Kell"). London: Heinemann, 1963.
  • Enderby Outside (Volume 2). London: Heinemann, 1968;
  • The Clockwork Testament; or, Enderby's end (Volume 3). London: Hart-Davis, McGibbon, 1974; New York: Knopf, 1974.
  • Enderby's Dark Lady; or, No end of Enderby]](Volume 4). London: Hutchinson, 1984; New York: McGraw-Hill, 1984.

Short fictionEdit

  • The Devil's Mode: Stories. London: Hutchinson, 1989; New York: Random House, 1989.


  • The Novel Now: A student's guide to contemporary fiction. London: Faber, 1947.
  • Language Made Plain. London: English Universities Press, 1964; New York: T.Y. Crowell, 1964.
  • Here Comes Everybody: An introduction to James Joyce for the ordinary reader. London: Faber, 1965
    • published in U.S. as Re Joyce. New York: Norton, 1965.
  • Urgent Copy: Literary studies. London: Cape, 1968; New York: Norton, 1968.
  • English Literature: A survey for students. London: Longman, 1974.
  • Joysprick: An introduction to the language of James Joyce. New York [& London?]: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1975; London: Andre Deutsch, 1979.
  • Ernest Hemingway and His World. London: Thames & Hudson, 1978; New York: Scribner, 1978.
  • 99 Novels: The best in English since 1939: A personal choice. London: Allison & Busby, 1984; New York: Summit Books, 1984.
  • Flame into Being: The life and work of D.H. Lawrence. London: Heinemann, 1985; New York: Arbor House, 1985.
  • You've Had Your Time: Being the second part of the confessions. London: Heinemann, 1990; New York: Grove Weidenfield, 1990.
  • Conversations with Anthony Burgess (with Earl G. Ingersoll & Mary C. Ingersoll). Jackson, MI: University Press of Mississippi, 2008.

Books on ShakespeareEdit

  • Nothing Like the Sun: A story of Shakespeare's love life. London: Heinemann, 1964; New York: Norton, 1964.
  • Shakespeare. London: Cape, 1970; New York: Knopf, 1970.

Collected editionsEdit

  • One Man's Chorus: The uncollected writings (edited by Ben Forkner). New York: Carroll & Graf, 1998.


  • Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac. New York: Knopf, 1971.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[43]


  • Biswell, Andrew (2006), The Real Life of Anthony Burgess, Picador, ISBN 978-0330481717 
  • Burgess, Anthony (1982), This Man And Music, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0-07-008964-7 
  • David, Beverley (July 1973), "Anthony Burgess: A Checklist (1956–1971)", Twentieth Century Literature (Hofstra University) 19 (3): 181–188, JSTOR 440916, 
  • Carol M. Dix, Anthony Burgess (British Council, 1971)
  • Robert K. Morris, The Consolations of Ambiguity: An Essay on the Novels of Anthony Burgess (Missouri, 1971)
  • A.A. Devitis, Anthony Burgess (New York, 1972)
  • Geoffrey Aggeler, Anthony Burgess: The Artist as Novelist (Alabama, 1979)
  • Samuel Coale, Anthony Burgess (New York, 1981)
  • Martine Ghosh-Schellhorn, Anthony Burgess: A Study in Character (Peter Lang AG, 1986)
  • Lewis, Roger (2002), Anthony Burgess, Faber and Faber, ISBN 0-571-20492-9 
  • Richard Mathews, The Clockwork Universe of Anthony Burgess (Borgo Press, 1990)
  • John J. Stinson, Anthony Burgess Revisited (Boston, 1991)
  • Paul Phillips, "The Music of Anthony Burgess" (1999)
  • Paul Phillips, "Anthony Burgess", New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed. (2001)
  • Paul Phillips, A Clockwork Counterpoint: The Music and Literature of Anthony Burgess (Manchester University Press, 2010)


  • Many of Burgess' literary and musical papers are archived at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester.
  • The largest collection of Burgessiana is held at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin.
  • Archive at the Anthony Burgess Center of the University of Angers, with which Burgess' widow Liana (Liliana Macellari) was connected.


  1. David 1973, p. 181
  2. See the essay "A Prophetic and Violent Masterpiece" by Theodore Dalrymple in "Not With a Bang but a Whimper" (2008) pp. 135–49
  3. "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". Times online (The Times). 5 January 2008. Retrieved 14 February 2010. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Ratcliffe, Michael (2004), "Wilson, John Burgess [Anthony Burgess (1917–1993)"], Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.), Oxford University Press,, retrieved 20 June 2011 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Lewis 2002, p. 67
  6. Lewis 2002, p. 62
  7. Lewis 2002, p. 64
  8. Lewis 2002, p. 68
  9. Lewis 2002, p. 70
  10. Burgess 1982, pp. 70–71
  11. Lewis 2002, pp. 53–54
  12. Lewis 2002, p. 57
  13. Lewis 2002, p. 66
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Burgess 1982, pp. 17–18
  15. Burgess 1982, p. 19
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "Anthony Burgess, 1917–1993, Biographical Sketch". Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin. 2004-06-08. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  17. Lewis 2002, pp. 97–98
  18. Lewis 2002, p. 95
  19. Lewis 2002, pp. 109–110
  20. Lewis 2002, p. 113
  21. Lewis 2002, p. 117
  22. Lewis 2002, pp. 107, 128
  23. Wired for books Burgess, audio interview. Accessed 2010-08-29
  24. Colin Burrow (9 February 2006). "Not Quite Nasty". London Review of Books. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  25. "SAKMONGKOL AK47: The Life and Times of Dato Mokhtar bin Dato Sir Mahmud". 2009-06-15. Retrieved 2010-02-14. 
  26. Anthony Burgess foundation (2004-05-05). "1954–59". Retrieved 2010-02-14.  Template:Dead link
  27. "The Life and Times of Dato Mokhtar bin Dato Sir Mahmud.". 2009-06-15. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  28. Aggeler, Geoffrey (Editor) (1986) Critical essays on Anthony Burgess. G K Hall. p.1 ISBN 0-8161-8757-6
  29. Gunn, Geoffrey C. (2000) New World Hegemony in the Malay World. The Red Sea Press, Lawrenceville NJ and Asmara/Eritrea p143 ISBN 1-56902-134-1
  30. Conversations with Anthony Burgess (2008) Ingersoll & Ingersoll ed. p180
  31. 31.0 31.1 Conversations with Anthony Burgess (2008) Ingersoll & Ingersoll p 151–2
  32. 32.0 32.1 "1985 interview with Anthony Burgess (audio)". 1985-09-19. Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  33. Posted by W. Shedd (2006-03-22). "The Accidental Russophile: Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange and Nadsat". Accidental Russophile blog. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 "Liana Burgess". The Times (London). 13 December 2007.  Retrieved on 11 September 2008.
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 "Liana Burgess". The Daily Telegraph. 6 December 2007.  Retrieved on 11 September 2008.
  36. Biswell 2006, p. 4
  37. 37.0 37.1 Cullinan, John (1971–3). "The art of fiction no. 48: Anthony Burgess". The Paris Review. Archived from the original on 28 October 2007. Retrieved 2010-02-14. 
  38. Asprey, Matthew (July–August 2009), "Peripatetic Burgess", End of the World Newsletter (The International Anthony Burgess Foundation) (3): 4–7,, retrieved 20 June 2011 
  39. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Anthony Burgess
  40. "The Music of Anthony Burgess"Template:Dead link, Paul Phillips Anthony Burgess Newsletter – Issue 1
  41. Rostand, Edmond; Anthony Burgess (1991). Cyrano de Bergerac, translated and adapted by Anthony Burgess (New ed.). Nick Hern Books. ISBN 978-1-85459-117-3. 
  42. "Oedipus the King. (Minnesota drama editions) (9780816606672): Anthony Burgess: Books". Retrieved 2010-02-14. 
  43. Search results = au:Anthony Burgess, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, May 18, 2014.

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