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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 Anthony Burgess 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 trilogy: ‘Either side of the bed was the wrong side. True it was possible to get out of it by inching slowly forward, on one’s fat brown rump, to the foot; but that, for some reason, often woke both of them ...

Who they think they are

Julian Symons, 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 Anthony Burgess’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 Institute, he is free. ‘The protein content of my spinal liquor had gone down dramatically’: the death sentence is cancelled ...

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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... blush is over it should challenge us to think about how our tastes are made and why they change. Anthony Burgess 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 language, as well as a large number of film scripts, most ...

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 Anthony Burgess’, 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 had your time; we are told it will probably be even longer than this one, which takes the younger Wilson from birth to a midlife illness, falsely diagnosed as fatal ...

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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... that ‘every Shakespeare-lover’ has the right ‘to paint his own portrait of the man’, Anthony Burgess 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 inevitable in the work of a ...

Lawrence and Burgess

Frank Kermode, 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 time left over to deal with the input of information required for at least some of the output ...

Diary

Giles Gordon: Experimental Sideshows, 7 October 1993

... it to matter ... Samuel Beckett (of course), John Berger, Christine Brooke-Rose, Brigid Brophy, Anthony Burgess, 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 Material indeed), Stefan Themerson, and ...

Oque?

John Bayley, 30 November 1995

Byrne 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 150 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 0 09 179204 5
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... Huxley, who indeed was then still alive ... It was the exact opposite of Brain of Britain. And Anthony Burgess 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 piece, but where from exactly? ...

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. Anthony Burgess’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 sonnets to a mistress ‘black as hell’, Burgess made the Dark Lady of his story a voluptuous East Indian who, after seducing the dramatist, inspired the tragic plays of his maturity by giving him a dose of syphilis ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Dead Babies, 16 November 2000

... gluttonous, not very bright and, yes, carping resident of Camberwell, and the narrator of what Anthony Burgess 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 deeply attached, and which I had named, but ...

Let the cork out

John Bayley, 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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... is a way of putting these ancient truths into an art form fashionable and acceptable today. Anthony Burgess 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 obsession’: ‘This,’ ...

Diary

Ian Hamilton: Francis Hope, and Tom and Vic, 15 March 1984

... in our infancy.’ Turning from Francis Hope’s fastidious reviews to the scrappy bombast of Anthony Burgess’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 to be remembered for less than his best, and how ...

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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... 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. But no, Toomey doesn’t ‘glory in it’, he dislikes ...

The Only Way

Sam Kinchin-Smith: Culinary Mansplaining, 4 January 2018

... would be a bit too cute for Meades, even if his Lancashire hotpot is ‘stolen word for word from Anthony Burgess’: ‘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 cabbage and a cheap claret.’ Henderson’s ...

Americans

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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... Triangle. ‘Does anyone, other than Mr John Braine, read John O’Hara these days?’ asks Anthony Burgess 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, reprinted his six best (and biggest) novels last ...

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