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In 1984, Anthony Burgess published Ninety-Nine Novels, a selection of his favourite novels in English since 1939. The list is typically idiosyncratic, and shows the breadth of Burgess’s interest in fiction. This podcast, by the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, explores the novels on Burgess’s list with the help of writers, critics and other special guests.
In this second episode, Will Carr of the Burgess Foundation talks to writer and academic Alison Arant about Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor.
Published in 1952, Wise Blood is Flannery O’Connor’s first novel and shows many of the themes that would come to characterise her short but extraordinary career. Set in the American South, and dealing with a cast of grotesques, it is a novel of complex religious themes and has come to be known as a classic of twentieth century literature.
Alison Arant is Associate Professor and Chair of the English Department at Wagner College in Staten Island, New York. Her research focusses on the American South, African American literature and women’s literature. Her most recent publication is Reconsidering Flannery O’Connor, which she edited with Jordan Colfer. This collection examines new theoretical approaches to O’Connor’s work and interrogates established views of her fiction and legacy. It is available now from the University Press of Mississippi.
By Flannery O’Connor:
You can join the conversation and tell us which 100th book you would add to Burgess’s list by using the hashtag #99Novels on Twitter.
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The theme music for the Ninety-Nine Novels podcast is Anthony Burgess’s Concerto for Flute, Strings and Piano in D Minor, performed by No Dice Collective.