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Musical Beds

D.A.N. Jones

30 December 1982
On Going to Bed 
by Anthony Burgess.
Deutsch, 96 pp., £4.95, August 1982, 0 233 97470 9
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The End of the World News 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 398 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 09 150540 2
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This Man and Music 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 192 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 09 149610 1
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... Thrice has AnthonyBurgess begun a novel in bed, with intimations of impropriety and guilt. Getting out of the dreadful thing was the problem posed for the bold bigamist of Beds in the East, the third volume in his Malayan ...

Not Quite Nasty

Colin Burrow: Anthony Burgess

9 February 2006
The Real Life of Anthony​ Burgess 
by Andrew Biswell.
Picador, 434 pp., £20, November 2005, 0 330 48170 3
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... perspective. The unfashionable embarrasses us – how can I have worn that? – but when the first blush is over it should challenge us to think about how our tastes are made and why they change. AnthonyBurgess is a 1960s sideboard of a writer. His range was improbable. He published 32 novels, composed symphonies, wrote two books on Joyce, a biography of Shakespeare and a study of the English ...

Big John

Frank Kermode

19 March 1987
Little Wilson and Big God 
by Anthony Burgess.
Heinemann, 448 pp., £12.95, February 1987, 0 434 09819 1
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... The subtitle claims that this is ‘the First Part of the Confessions of AnthonyBurgess’, who is officially known as John Burgess Wilson; and the book appears on the author’s 70th birthday, as part of his preparation for the coming encounter with Big God. There is, however, to be a Second Part, provisionally entitled You’ve ...
8 November 1990
You’ve had your time 
by Anthony Burgess.
Heinemann, 391 pp., £17.50, October 1990, 0 434 09821 3
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An Immaculate Mistake: Scenes from Childhood and Beyond 
by Paul Bailey.
Bloomsbury, 167 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 7475 0630 2
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... Volume One of AnthonyBurgess’s autobiography, Little Wilson and Big God, left our hero in January 1960 under sentence of death, no more than a few months to live. With one bound, or at least one letter from the Neurological ...
19 September 1985
Flame into Being: The Life and Work of D.H. Lawrence 
by Anthony Burgess.
Heinemann, 211 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 434 09818 3
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The Kingdom of the Wicked 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 379 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 09 160040 5
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... Most people would call Mr Burgess a prodigiously fluent writer, but he would demur, pointing out that a professional should be capable of a thousand words a day, which is 365,000 a year, or five moderate-sized books, with plenty of ...

Pillors of Fier

Frank Kermode: Anthony Burgess

11 July 2002
Nothing like the Sun: reissue 
by Anthony Burgess.
Allison and Busby, 234 pp., £7.99, January 2002, 0 7490 0512 2
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... Arguing – redundantly? disingenuously? – that ‘every Shakespeare-lover’ has the right ‘to paint his own portrait of the man’, AnthonyBurgess published his version in 1970. Though ‘eschewing invention’, he confessed to an element of ‘conjecture’, adding that the reader should spot his venial departures from fact and excuse them as ...


Giles Gordon: Experimental Sideshows

7 October 1993
... list of authors ‘who are writing as though it mattered, as though they meant it, as though they meant it to matter ... Samuel Beckett (of course), John Berger, Christine Brooke-Rose, Brigid Brophy, AnthonyBurgess, Alan Burns, Angela Carter, Eva Figes, Giles Gordon, Wilson Harris, Rayner Heppenstall, even hasty, muddled Robert Nye, Ann Quin, Penelope Shuttle, Alan Sillitoe (for his last book only. Raw ...

Brave as hell

John Kerrigan

21 June 1984
Enderby’s Dark Lady, or No End to Enderby 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 160 pp., £7.95, March 1984, 0 09 156050 0
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Shakespeare’s Sonnets: A Modern Edition 
edited by A.L. Rowse.
Macmillan, 311 pp., £20, March 1984, 0 333 36386 8
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... In 1964, the quatercentenary of Shakespeare’s birth, two very different books appeared. AnthonyBurgess’s tribute to the poet, Nothing Like the Sun, was a boisterous biographical novel full of sugared sack and bawdry, with sombre undertones of decay. Taking literally the references in Shakespeare’s ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Dead Babies

16 November 2000
... of a Really Good Man was first published anonymously in 1924. Carp is a pious, hypocritical, gluttonous, not very bright and, yes, carping resident of Camberwell, and the narrator of what AnthonyBurgess called ‘one of the great comic novels of the 20th century’. He begins one recollection of his childhood with a description of how he was ‘happily employed combing a grey rabbit, to which I was ...


John Bayley

30 November 1995
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 150 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 0 09 179204 5
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... erudite, wittily and unobtrusively learned. High culture, wide culture, men of letters, like Aldous Huxley, who indeed was then still alive ... It was the exact opposite of Brain of Britain. And AnthonyBurgess was brilliant at it. Easy, smiling, courteous, uncompetitive, he was absolutely deadly when it came to the details of name and place. Dryden? Yes, we all got that, more or less: a well-known ...


Ian Hamilton: Francis Hope, and Tom and Vic

15 March 1984
... of premature grown-up in the retarded Age of Youth. As he once memorably put it, ‘we lie about heaven in our infancy.’ Turning from Francis Hope’s fastidious reviews to the scrappy bombast of AnthonyBurgess’s Ninety-Nine Novels: The Best in English since 1939* makes me wonder for a second why I’m being hesitant about knitting together Hope’s short pieces for a book. And yet, who would want ...

Lost Empire

D.J. Enright

16 October 1980
Earthly Powers 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 650 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 09 143910 8
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... to suggest that this affects Toomey’s ‘representativeness’, that it knocks the novel off centre. Inaccurate, certainly, in that Toomey is chaste much of the time: for him, war drives out sex. Burgess is hardly an author whom one would suppose to be in search of new sensations. It could be (I came close to thinking at one stage) that, heterosex being so awful, homosex has to be a little better ...

The Only Way

Sam Kinchin-Smith: Culinary Mansplaining

4 January 2018
... has a plagiaristic premise: she writes up meals and recipes described in works of literature. That would be a bit too cute for Meades, even if his Lancashire hotpot is ‘stolen word for word from AnthonyBurgess’: ‘Season well, cover with good stock, top with oysters or, if you wish, sliced beef kidneys. There is no need for officious timing: you will know when it is done. Serve with pickled red ...
26 October 1989
Foucault’s Pendulum 
by Umberto Eco, translated by William Weaver.
Secker, 641 pp., £14.95, October 1989, 0 436 14096 9
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The Open Work 
by Umberto Eco, translated by Anna Cancogni.
Radius, 285 pp., £9.95, October 1989, 0 09 175896 3
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... evil comes from those who hold it certain that they are in the light.’ Eco’s superb entertainment is a way of putting these ancient truths into an art form fashionable and acceptable today. AnthonyBurgess is quoted as saying that it exemplifies ‘what Post-Modernist fiction is about, with its learning – real and bogus – its concern with books talking to books ... its semiological ...


Stephen Fender

2 July 1981
The Life of John O’Hara 
by Frank MacShane.
Cape, 274 pp., £10, March 1981, 9780224018852
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... he simply disappears from the radar screen of American literature, like a flight of TBFs in the Bermuda Triangle. ‘Does anyone, other than Mr John Braine, read John O’Hara these days?’ asks AnthonyBurgess in the Observer, without staying for an answer. Well, I guess someone does, even here, since Panther Books, not famous for reckless commercial ventures motivated exclusively by nostalgia ...

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