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 […]

Anthony Burgess enjoyed comparing himself to other novelists, poets and playwrights. He sometimes spoke of himself as belonging to a group of writers who had emerged from provincial cities and had, through talent and persistence, made their mark on the British literary establishment. In his biography of Shakespeare, for example, Burgess suggests that, like Shakespeare, […]

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 […]

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 […]