As art is a mirror of oneself and oneself is one’s life, so it is right to want to know about the life. – Anthony Burgess
- Burgess Archive
- What's in the archive?
- Visiting the Archive
- Policies and regulations
- Object of the Week
- Contact the Archivist
Object of the Week:
Object of the Week
To celebrate the centenary of Anthony Burgess’s birth, in 2017 we opened up our archive with a special photographic series called Object of the Week. We took one item from our collection every week which highlighted an aspect of the life and work of Anthony Burgess.
Here are some of the highlights from that series, which you can see in full here.
Anthony Burgess was nominated for a Grammy in 1974 for his work on the musical version of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac.
He shared the honour with his collaborator Michael J Lewis, a Welsh composer of music for film and theatre.
Burgess was originally commissioned to translate Cyrano de Bergerac by the Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with Michael Langham directing and Paul Hecht as the big-nosed hero.
This 1970 production was an enormous success, and Burgess credits it with saving the Guthrie Theater from bankruptcy. The theater went on to commission Burgess a second time for his translation of Sophocles’s Oedipus the King in 1972… (Read more…)
A few of the typescripts of Burgess’s novels contain doodled marginalia, sometimes relating to the writing on the page, and sometimes with a more mysterious inspiration.
Ornamentations in the typescript of novels such as Beard’s Roman Women and A Clockwork Orange add humour to the texts, while the title pages of manuscripts such as Puma and Burgess’s original screenplay for A Clockwork Orange appear to give some suggestions as to how Burgess visualised the look of the published novel, though this is misleading.
James Michie, who edited the UK edition of A Clockwork Orange, suggested that the drawings on the manuscript were a private joke between the author and his editor.
Burgess’s drawings also appear in more unexpected places… (Read more…)
One of the more unexpected items in the photographic collection at the Burgess Foundation is a Polaroid of Burgess with the French musician Jean-Michel Jarre and the actress Charlotte Rampling.
The photograph dates from around the mid-1980s, and the exact circumstances in which the picture was taken are not known.
However, Burgess and Jarre maintained an artistic collaboration during this time, most notably working together on a film script titled Dawn Chorus.
The script, written by Burgess, follows Tessa Rushworth, an experimental musician who blends exotic birdsong with electronic sounds to create her art… (Read more…)
These pictures reveal a very familiar image of Anthony Burgess: the smoker.
Burgess’s relationship with tobacco is well documented in images throughout the archive and he’s rarely pictured without a cigarette or his favoured Schimmelpenninck Duet cigar.
The archive includes many pieces of smoking paraphernalia, including tins of cigars, ashtrays and countless matchbooks.
A life-long smoker, Burgess’s introduction to the world of tobacco came very early, when his family opened a tobacconist in the Moss Side area of Manchester in the mid-1920s.
Burgess recalls being sent to buy cartons of cigarettes by his father in order to spy on competitors’ prices… (Read more…)
From 1975, Anthony Burgess lived in a top-floor apartment on rue Grimaldi in Monaco.
In 1988, there was a catastrophic leak of water from the roof of the building, which partially destroyed Burgess’s collection of manuscripts (which, according to a letter in the Burgess Foundation archive, were being stored in ‘a spare bathroom’).
Shortly after the flood, in an attempt to claim damages, Burgess wrote a list of the destroyed works.
Some of the manuscripts that were ruined by the flood are known about… (Read more…)