Burgess, Anthony. (1917 - 1993).
L i f e
- served as a teacher in the British colonial service in Malaysia and Brunei
- spoke Malaya, Russian, French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Welsh
W o r k
- versatile and extremely prolific: novelist, poet, playwright, literary critic, scriptwriter, journalist, essayist, travel writer, composer, librettist, broadcaster, translator, and educationalist
- preoccupation: theology and sociology of sin and evil
The Long Day Wanes = ‘The Malayan Trilogy’ (1956 – 59):
- concerned with the dying days of Britain’s empire in the East
- learnt the local language > achieved an impressive verisimilitude and understanding of indigenous issues
The Wanting Seed (1962):
- a futuristic fantasy on the cyclical process of human moral history
A Clockwork Orange (1962):
- a dystopian vision of the technological future, a cult exploration of the nature of evil, and his most brilliant and experimental novel
- from the point of view of young London delinquent Alex: fantasizes about rape, assault, and murder while listening to Mozart
- Alex is brainwashed into conformity: questions the ideals of freedom and social responsibility on the background of the liberal 1960s
- Alex is rendered as sympathetic: his geniality and vitality contrasts with the society’s numbness and soullessness
- lexical rebellion: Alex uses ‘nadsat’, a Russian-rooted argot, abbreviated, aggressive, rich, and strange
Earthly Powers (1980):
- a panoramic Tolstoyan saga of the 20th century and an entertaining exploration of moral antinomy
- an autobiographical narrator: a Catholic, homosexual, and successful writer
- the narrator travels the five continents, gets acquainted with prominent political and cultural personalities, but: does not seek the status of a colossus himself
Napoleon Symphony (1974):
- an ambitious modernist fictional expedition, a superb portrait of an Arab Muslim society occupied by a Christian western power (= Egypt occupied by France)
- shapes the novel’s structure on the four movements of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Eroica
Abba Abba (1977):
- about the last months in the life of John Keats
“The Enderby Tetralogy” (1963 – 84):
- a cycle of comic novels about a minor reclusive poet struggling with his muse
AuthorJohn Anthony Burgess Wilson. (1917 - 1993). British.
WorkNovelist. Poet. Playwright. Critic. Author of A Clockwork Orange (1962).
GenresModern novel. Science-fiction. Dystopia.
Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.
Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.
Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.
Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.
Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.
Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.
"What's it going to be then, eh? There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, Dim being really dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar making up rassoodocks what to do with the evening, a flip dark chill winter bastard though dry."
The opening of A Clockwork Orange (1962).