Anthony Burgess

Anthony Burgess

John Anthony Burgess Wilson (February 25, 1917 November 25, 1993), better known by the pen name Anthony Burgess, was a British writer.


Burgess was born in Manchester, England and was left motherless at two years old by the 1918 1919 influenza pandemic. He was raised by his aunt and later his stepmother. Burgess was schooled at Xaverian College and later took a degree in English literature at Manchester University. In 1940 he joined the military and worked in the British Army Education Corps. After the war he taught at Banbury Grammar School.

In 1954 he left for Malaya (now Malaysia), where he was a teacher and education officer, stationed in Kuala Kangsar and then Kota Bharu. He attained fluency in the Malay language and wrote his first novel, Time For A Tiger. In 1959 he collapsed in a classroom in Brunei. He returned to England and is thought to have been diagnosed as having an inoperable brain tumor, with the likelihood of only surviving a short time. He retired from teaching and became a full-time writer, eventually outliving the prognosis by several decades. He lived first in Hove, then in Etchingham, and later in Chiswick. Within a decade, however, he was once again living outside Britain, first in Malta, then in Rome and later in Monaco. Burgess was a lifelong heavy smoker, eventually dying (in England) of lung cancer in 1993.


In a prolific career he published over 50 books covering a wide range of subject matter, including mainstream fiction such as the Enderby trilogy (about a reclusive poet), dystopian science fiction such as The Wanting Seed, and a guide to James Joyce, HERE COMES EVERYBODY.

His most famous work (or notorious, after Stanley Kubrick made a controversial film adaptation) was the novel A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1962). Inspired initially by an incident during World War II in which his wife was assaulted by US army deserters, the book was an examination of free will and morality. The young anti-hero, Alex, captured after a career of violence and mayhem, is given aversion conditioning to stop his violence. It makes him defenseless against other people and unable to enjoy the music that, besides violence, had been his other only pleasure in life.

Burgess had a considerable interest in music, having composed several symphonies, and even modeling the structure of one of his novels, THE NAPOLEON SYMPHONY (1974) upon Beethoven's EROICA SYMPHONY.

His fluency in languages (he could speak Malay, Russian, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Welsh in addition to his native English, as well as some Hebrew, Japanese, Chinese, Swedish and Persian) was reflected in the invented teen slang of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (called Nadsat) and in the film QUEST FOR FIRE (1981), for which Burgess invented an entire prehistoric language for the characters to speak.

He also wrote the book & lyrics for the musical show, CYRANO.



" Time for a Tiger (1956)
" The Enemy in the Blanket (1958)
" Beds in the East (1959)
" The Right to an Answer (1960)
" The Doctor is Sick, (1960)
" The Worm and the Ring, (1960)
" Devil of a State (1961)
" One Hand Clapping (1961)
" A Clockwork Orange (1962)
" The Wanting Seed (1962)
" Honey for the Bears (1963)
" Inside Mr. Enderby (1963)
" The Eve of St. Venus (1964)
" Nothing like the Sun (1964)
" A Vision of Battlements (1965)
" Tremor of Intent (1966)
" Enderby Outside (1968)
" MF (1971)
" Napoleon Symphony (1974)
" The Clockwork Testament (1974)
" Beard's Roman Women (1976)
" Abba Abba (1977)
" 1985 (1978)
" Man of Nazareth (1979), based on his screenplay for Jesus of Nazareth (movie)
" Earthly Powers (1980)
" The End of the World News (1982)
" Enderby's Dark Lady (1984)
" The Kingdom of the Wicked (1985)
" The Pianoplayers (1986)
" Any Old Iron (1988)
" The Devil's Mode (1989) (short stories)
" A Dead Man in Deptford (1993)


" Language Made Plain (1964)
" Here Comes Everybody: An Introduction to James Joyce for the Common Reader (1965) also published as Re Joyce
" The Novel Now (1967)
" Urgent Copy (1968)
" Joysprick: An Introduction to the Language of James Joyce (1973)
" This Man and Music (1982)
" 99 Novels: The Best in English since 1939 (1984)
" Homage to QWERT YUIOP (1986)
" Little Wilson and Big God (Autobiography, Part 1) (1986)
" You've Had Your Time (Autobiography, Part 2) (1990)
" A Mouthful of Air (1992)
" One Man's Chorus (1998)

From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia.

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