The latest title to appear in the Irwell Edition is This Man and Music. 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 […]

James Joyce was born on 2 February 1882. This became a date of great importance to Anthony Burgess, who began writing Here Comes Everybody, the first of his critical books about Joyce, on 2 February 1964. Following the writing plan he had drawn up in advance, Burgess typed the final page of Here Comes Everybody […]

Here Comes Everybody, subtitled ‘An Introduction to James Joyce for the Ordinary Reader’, was commissioned by Joyce’s own publishers, Faber and Faber, in 1963. Burgess’s original title was ‘James Joyce and the Common Man’, and he introduces the book with a provocative statement: ‘If ever there was a writer for the people, Joyce was that […]

Anthony Burgess came of age as modernism was approaching its peak, and the movement influenced much of his writing and music. As a young man, Burgess was inspired by writers such as James Joyce and T.S. Eliot; and, as a musician, he was excited by the revolutionary compositions of Stravinsky, Berg, Honneger and Mossolov. Reacting […]

Reading Ulysses by James Joyce was perhaps the first time that Anthony Burgess had experienced forbidden literature. He first read Ulysses as a school boy, though his recollections of the event are inconsistent. In Little Wilson and Big God, he claims a teacher ‘had brought it back from illiberal Nazi Germany in the two-volume Odyssey […]

Anthony Burgess was not a prolific diarist, but the archive at the Burgess Foundation contains some notebooks with private journal entries and notes towards his writing projects. In most of these notebooks, only the first few pages have been filled with Burgess’s writing, with the remaining pages either blank or full of sketches or hastily […]

He wasn’t exactly what we expected. No, my brothers. He was not like Alex, nor even like one of his three droogs. ‘Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed,’ he began reading to us. Flashbulbs popped. The New York Times. […]

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 […]

Monaco, 6 July 1978: He opened the door of the apartment at the top of the stairs on the top floor in the old sandstone-coloured building, shops on the ground floor, black-iron grilled balconies, 44 Rue Grimaldi. There he was, immediately friendly and easy-going, a swirl of bushy long grayish-brown hair like some mad painter, […]

Many of the stories about about Anthony Burgess’s first wife Llewela (or Lynne, as she was known), focus on her boisterous personality, and insatiable thirst. These caricatures follow Burgess’s own writing about his first wife in his autobiographies, but they offer little insight into her complex, and often contradictory, personality. The library at the Burgess […]