1. A Clockwork Orange was not the original title of the novel. In Anthony Burgess’s diary for 1958, he begins a plan for the novel that would eventually become A Clockwork Orange. It appears he originally intended the novel to be titled The Plank in Your Eye, an allusion to Matthew’s Gospel. During the Sermon […]

In 2013, the curators of the exhibition David Bowie Is revealed a list of the singer’s 100 favourite books. Among the titles that Bowie held dear are novels, political books, musical biographies and comic books, all of which reveal much about his preoccupations and the influences on his own creative output. Two of Anthony Burgess’s […]

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 […]

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 Each volume contains an editor’s introduction, a newly edited text, extensive notes and annotations, plus previously unpublished materials drawn from the […]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 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 Each volume contains an editor’s introduction, a newly edited text, extensive notes and annotations, plus previously unpublished materials drawn from the […]

In the final months of 1985, to mark the 300th anniversary of Bach’s birth, Burgess wrote the Bad-Tempered Electronic Keyboard, a modern tribute to Bach’s esteemed and influential Well-Tempered Clavier. Both compositions consist of 24 preludes and fugues, one for every major and minor key. Burgess stands in a long tradition of composing music in […]

When J.S. Bach completed the first collection of Preludes and Fugues that comprised the Well-Tempered Clavier in 1722, his aim was mostly pedagogical. He followed the first volume with a second about two decades later. Although compiling a collection of pieces that systematically worked through each of the 24 major and minor keys wasn’t a […]

Anthony Burgess’s The Bad-Tempered Electronic Keyboard: 24 Preludes and Fugues was released as a CD and download on 16 February 2018, in a new recording by the acclaimed Belgian pianist Stéphane Ginsburgh. Never previously recorded, Burgess’s cycle of preludes and fugues was written to celebrate the 300th anniversary of J.S. Bach’s birth and is dedicated to that […]

The Week-End Book, published by the Nonesuch Press in June 1924, was a staple of British households in the first half of the twentieth century. Its popularity was such that it went through eighteen impressions up to 1927, and between October 1928 and October 1930 it sold more than 52,000 copies. The book itself is […]

One of the more unexpected items in the photographic collection at the Burgess Foundation is a Polaroid of Burgess with the French musician Jean-Michel Jarre and the actress Charlotte Rampling. The photograph dates from around the mid-1980s, and the exact circumstances in which the picture was taken are not known. However, Burgess and Jarre maintained […]