This Man and Music blends musical autobiography and literary analysis to create a hybrid book which reveals much about Anthony Burgess’s creative process and cultural obsessions. Best known as a writer of fiction, Burgess also devoted much of his time to musical composition. His interest in music saturates all of his fiction, from Alex’s love of Beethoven in A Clockwork Orange to representations of the music hall in novels such as The Pianoplayers and Earthly Powers.
Burgess’s strongest fictional engagement with musical forms comes in Napoleon Symphony, a fictional biography structured around Beethoven’s Eroica. In This Man and Music, Burgess analyses this novel in depth, along with his experimental masterpiece MF, revealing the ways in which these novels bridge the gap between language and music.
This Man and Music examines the musical influences on several other writers who inspired Burgess’s own fiction. The book considers the importance of music in the works of James Joyce and Gerard Manley Hopkins, two writers to whom Burgess acknowledged strong debts.
In her introduction to the Irwell Edition, Christine Lee Gengaro, Professor of Music at Los Angeles City College, provides a newly-researched account of how Burgess’s book took shape, with reference to manuscripts and editorial correspondence. The text is accompanied by nine appendices which present reviews and materials from the Burgess archives. A comprehensive set of endnotes demystify allusions and complex terminology in the text.
The Irwell Edition of the Works of Anthony Burgess, published by Manchester University Press, aims to produce critical editions of all of Burgess’s novels and non-fiction books. Each volume includes an editor’s introduction, a newly edited text, comprehensive notes and annotations, along with previously unpublished material from the archive.
Previous volumes in the Irwell Edition include A Vision of Battlements, The Pianoplayers, Puma, Beard’s Roman Women, and ABBA ABBA. The list of future and forthcoming titles includes Mozart and the Wolf Gang, They Wrote in English, Devil of a State, Any Old Iron, and The Worm and the Ring.