Andrew Biswell: How to read Earthly Powers ‘The ideal reader of my books,’ Anthony Burgess told John Cullinan of the Paris Review in 1973, ‘is a lapsed Catholic and failed musician, short-sighted, colour-blind, auditorily biased, who has read the books that I have read. He should also be about my age.’ Readers who lack those […]

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Anthony Burgess’s Earthly Powers, we look at Burgess’s attitude towards Somerset Maugham. When Anthony Burgess began his career as a novelist, inspired by his experience of teaching English in colonial Malaya, his goal was to become a sort of Somerset Maugham figure. In particular, he wanted to emulate Maugham’s […]

Although A Clockwork Orange is Anthony Burgess’s best-known novel, many readers regard Earthly Powers as his masterpiece. When the novel was first published in October 1980, Burgess received a telegram from his French translator, who wrote: ‘It is your Ulysses.’ Unlike most of Burgess’s novels, which he wrote in the space of a few months, […]

A topical blogpost for Easter. By Will Carr.