Anthony Burgess’s second commission from Michael Langham, the artistic director of the Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, was an adaptation of Oedipus the King by Sophocles. He had recently completed the novel MF, whose incest theme also reflected Burgess’s interest in Freud and Oedipus. He had little knowledge of Greek and a hazy knowledge of ancient […]

When Jorge Luis Borges met Anthony Burgess for the first time, Borges was 77 years old and at the height of his international fame. He had been blind for 23 years. Burgess had just turned sixty, and was much in demand as a screenwriter and public speaker. The venue for their historic meeting was the […]

Ernest Hemingway died on 2 July 1961. Anthony Burgess was in Leningrad when he heard the news, gathering the material for Honey for the Bears and A Clockwork Orange. In a later review of A.E. Hotchner’s biography of Hemingway, reprinted in Urgent Copy (1968), Burgess recalled: ‘Many young Russians I drank with asked me, as […]

Near the beginning of Honey for the Bears, Anthony Burgess’s 1963 novel set in Leningrad, there is a reference to the Cambridge spies: Not everything you do has to be political. Like those diplomats that went over that time. For all anybody knows they might have gone over because of their stomachs. In Russia, nobody […]

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 […]