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 […]

Beard’s Roman Women is an odd book. The title, changed by the American publisher from Rome in the Rain, seems to suggest a historical novel, set in the Roman Empire. The text is partnered with strange photographs of ghostly Roman monuments, reflected in puddles and in glass. The story is clearly autobiographical yet is told […]

The Irwell Edition of the Works of Anthony Burgess, published in hardback by Manchester University Press, is a new series which aims to bring all of Burgess’s novels and non-fiction books back into print. Each volume contains an editor’s introduction, a newly edited text, extensive notes and annotations, plus previously unpublished materials drawn from the […]

‘The history of England, from the time of the Roman occupation until twenty years ago, has been about the insistence of a very insular people on cutting itself off from that huge and dangerous continent that lies to its east and is separated by a mere twenty miles of sea’ (Anthony Burgess, ‘England in Europe’, […]

In 1970, Burgess moved with his family from Malta to Italy. They settled in the town of Bracciano, where they bought a fifteenth-century house on the cobbled Piazza Padella. This house would be the centre of Burgess’s creative life until he moved to Monaco in 1975, despite frequent trips to Malta and the United States. […]

Anthony Burgess’s copy of Italian Food by Elizabeth David is battered, ripped and stained, suggesting heavy use. It also contains scraps of paper which mark certain recipes, giving an insight into what Burgess may have been cooking. Burgess’s edition of David’s book was published in 1967, and there is internal evidence that he was using […]

Many items in the collections at the Anthony Burgess Foundation reveal Burgess’s connections with other writers. Some of these connections are unexpected, such as his long correspondences with Angela Carter and Shirley Conran, but some, such as his friendship with the Italian novelist and semiologist Umberto Eco, seem to make more sense. Burgess’s and Eco’s […]

The archive at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation contains a box full of house keys, some of which date back as far as 1968. These keys are accompanied by a hand drawn chart that indicates the uses for several of the keys, and allows us to trace for which of his houses Burgess used them. […]