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 various contexts. He recalls in Little Wilson and Big God that one of his earliest published short stories was ‘The Great Christmas Train Robbery’. In the late 1960s he was commissioned to make an English translation of The Childhood of Christ by Hector Berlioz (revived as a big-budget ITV […]

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.

The first blog post by Cultural Engagement Fellow, Martin Kratz.