We reveal a gruesome inspiration behind Anthony Burgess’s novel Earthly Powers: the Jonestown suicide cult leader Jim Jones. One of the pivotal events in Earthly Powers is the establishment and violent dissolution of Godfrey Manning’s religious cult, known as the ‘Children of God’. Although this cult seems to be well ingrained in the narrative of […]

In this edition of the podcast, Andrew Biswell and Graham Foster discuss Burgess’s experience of Rome, from his two novels Beard’s Roman Women and ABBA ABBA, to his engagement with Italian culture and the circle of artists and writers he associated with during his time living in the Eternal City.

ONE: He received a fan letter from Umberto Eco. They met when Burgess was living in Rome in the early 1970s. Eco, who worked as a radio producer, interviewed Burgess in connection with Joysprick, a book about the language of James Joyce. Later on, Burgess wrote favourable reviews of a number of Eco’s books, including The […]

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 […]