Christopher Ricks (in his book, Beckett’s Dying Words) notices another affinity between Burgess and Beckett. ‘There is a moment in an Anthony Burgess novel,’ writes Ricks, when the man in danger, fascinated as any good Burgess-man is by language, watches someone advance on him with a pair of scissors, and can only marvel at such intersections of the singular and the plural as the three which comprise his imminent fate: scissors / trousers / bollocks. Beckett, too, is drawn to these singular parallels. Including that very trinity [in his novel Watt, page 14]’. Ricks is thinking of chapter 13 of Burgess’s M/F (published by Jonathan Cape in 1971), in which Catherine’s ‘lady companion’, Miss Emmett, attacks one of the twin brothers: ‘Miss Emmett clackclacked at his crotch, thus bringing into the same area of action the three dual forms: scissors, trousers, ballocks’ (p. 151).
If there are any other echoes of Beckett in Burgess’s novels, we would be very interested to know about them.