One of the key episodes in Earthly Powers is the trial scene in chapter 64, where Kenneth Toomey stands up in a London magistrate’s court to defend a fellow writer who has been accused of publishing a blasphemous poem. In the course of giving evidence, Toomey makes a public declaration of his homosexuality, which he […]
In this edition of the podcast, Andrew Biswell and Graham Foster discuss Burgess’s experience of Rome, from his two novels Beard’s Roman Women and ABBA ABBA, to his engagement with Italian culture and the circle of artists and writers he associated with during his time living in the Eternal City.
Anthony Burgess’s time in Rome was one of the most productive periods in his creative life. With his wife Liana and son Andrea, he lived in an apartment on the Piazza di Santa Cecilia in the Trastevere district of Rome, and in a house in the lakeside town of Bracciano outside the city. Burgess wrote […]
If Beard’s Roman Women is an odd book, ABBA ABBA, the other half of Burgess’s reaction to his time in Italy in the 1970s, is perhaps even odder still. The book is divided into two sections: Part One is a short historical novel of sorts, while Part Two consists mainly of poems translated into English […]
ABBA ABBA is one of Anthony Burgess’s most inventive works, blending historical fiction, poetry and translation into a novel which celebrates John Keats and the sonnet form. Set in Rome during the winter of 1820-21, the first part of ABBA ABBA recounts Keats’s final weeks and his eventual death from tuberculosis in a house on […]
Anthony Burgess wrote about Christmas in a number of different contexts. His responses are always distinctive and flavoursome, like a glass of Madeira or a traditional British Christmas pudding, stuffed with fruit and sixpence coins. In the first volume of his autobiography, Little Wilson and Big God, Burgess recalls that one of his earliest published […]
Many of the manuscripts in the archives at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation contain more than just words or music. Burgess was a prolific artist, drawing in the margins of typescripts, creating title pages for drafts of his novels, and sketching birthday cards for his son, Andrew. Burgess’s first published piece of work was not […]
Unexpected connections in the Burgess archives. By Martin Kratz.
Martin Kratz on Burgess and the poet John Keats
The second in a series of new articles from our Cultural Engagement Fellow, Martin Kratz.