Our new exhibition ‘Burgess on Screen’, on show at the Engine House, presents a number of extracts from Burgess’s TV appearances, taken from the wealth of footage in the Burgess Foundation archive. In them, Burgess talks about all areas of his life and work from his childhood, his time in Malaysia and Brunei, his first wife, religion, language, the writing process, being a novelist, exile from England, A Clockwork Orange and his feelings on reaching old age. The exhibition also reveals footage from the Burgess’s home video collection for the very first time, including a trip to Harrods in 1991 and a visit to the city of his birth in 1992.
Anthony Burgess was one of the first novelists to embrace the medium of television, and appeared on the small screen many times throughout his career. As well as becoming the TV critic for BBC’s Listener magazine in 1963, Burgess presented a number of television documentaries about his own life and other literary figures and made plenty of colourful contributions to TV panel and entertainment shows such as Parkinson, Wogan and the Dick Cavett Show.
Burgess presented a number of television documentaries about his own life and other literary figures including: a documentary about James Joyce called Silence, Exile and Cunning, broadcast as part of the BBC’s Monitor series in 1965; a Hemingway documentary titled Grace Under Pressure for ITV in 1978, which coincided with the release of his illustrated biography of the same author; A Kind of Failure in which Burgess returned to Malaysia and reflected on how the country had developed in the years since his departure in 1957 (broadcast on the BBC in 1981); and The Rage of D.H. Lawrence, a 1985 episode of ITV’s The South Bank Show.
An opening event will take place 6pm-7.30pm on Wednesday 30 September, and all are welcome. The exhibition can be viewed in the Burgess Foundation exhibition space from 10am to 3pm, Monday to Friday, and in the evenings during public events.