Aged 18, I spent a month in the village of Deià on the island of Majorca in the summer of 1969 where an American professor of English, Bob de Maria, from Dowling College, Long Island, founded and ran the Mediterranean Institute. Burgess was one of the guest writers, as was Colin Wilson, who, at the […]

In April 1970, Lawrence Durrell came to Princeton to read. I talked with him at dinner and found him a midget with a monumental ego – his brother got him right in My Family and Other Animals. He thought the greatest benefit from a public-school education was the ability to stay calm and collected amid […]

I knew Anthony Burgess, in a passing sort of way, first, when he was the writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1969-70. I had just begun my doctoral studies in English and lived with a number of other Jesuits who were pursuing degrees at either Chapel Hill or nearby Duke […]

Orange mécanique est d’une brûlante actualité ; seule manque à sa violence la dimension raciale pour être tout à fait moderne. Burgess, à qui l’on doit le roman à l’origine du film, avait inventé sa propre langue pour les nécessités de l’histoire. Kubrick avait pris de grandes libertés avec son ultime chapitre, ce qui ne lui avait […]

When you’re a curious school-child who trips over an enthralling writer on your journey down the shelves in your local library, you don’t dream that he will one day review your first novel. By the age of about 16 I was so repelled by the tweedy self-satisfaction of the fashionable British novelists of the time […]

It was the best put-down ever. Although Anthony and I corresponded over various linguistic matters, I met him only once, during a conference organized – I think by the British Council – at Bush House in London, and I think it was in the early 1980s. As that sentence illustrates, I’ve forgotten all the relevant […]

Complications started with Liana, his wife, who had given a slightly different date of death for Anthony to the press. Eventually, the two or three days of difference in the date were sorted out by one of the newspapers (it was Toni Howard of the obituary department of the London Times, in fact). Then, she […]

Anthony (John to us) was my tutor of Language and Literature at Bamber Bridge Emergency Training College for Teachers, near Preston, in its final year ending in May 1950. I worked closely with him as actor, stage manager, and producer in many college Dramatic productions, and acted as Methusela in his production of Nigel Balchin’s […]

When you exhume a Sicilian who has been in the grave for 2000 years, he’ll tell you vaffanculo and then he’ll rather self-pityingly say: ‘Why did you wake me? I haven’t finished plotting my revenge yet.’ I rather think if we dug up Anthony Burgess, we would get something similar. He was colour blind, which […]

He wasn’t exactly what we expected. No, my brothers. He was not like Alex, nor even like one of his three droogs. ‘Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed,’ he began reading to us. Flashbulbs popped. The New York Times. […]