Burgess on Language
Thursday, 15 February 2018
Whatever else he was (and he was many things, from novelist, critic and teacher to poet and musician) Burgess was a man in love with language. In the second Enderby novel, The Clockwork Testament, or Enderby's End (1974) he adapts a saying of Mallarmé. Enderby is teaching creative writing to angry New York students, one of whom reads out a bad poem to the class. When Enderby tells him that the…
Independent interview: "Like Clockwork"
Friday, 20 October 2017
A little while ago David Barrett interviewed me prior to writing this article for the Independent: "Like Clockwork: An unfinished Anthony Burgess script is about to be published" [Monday 28 August 2017]. You can read the article at that link, but there was quite a lot that came out of our chat that he wasn't able to use. So, with his permission I'm posting the original Q & A.
1. How long…
Monday, 16 October 2017
JOHN OF GHISTELLES
He wasn’t scared of dying. That was, after all, always the prospect a soldier faced in battle and being scared of it would be as absurd as a woodworker being scared of wood. And (as he told himself before every combat) if he did die, it would be good to see his father again. Catch up. This morning, though, he mounted his horse and looked across the parched French landscape at…
Medieval horrors, medieval glamour
Tuesday, 22 August 2017
Writing The Black Prince meant studying medieval history and literature in a way I hadn’t been able to do since I was a student—my current day job is ‘Professor of Nineteenth-century Literature’, when it’s not ‘Writer of Science Fiction Novels’. But there are many parallels, actually, between the work of the SF writer and the historical novelist (being able to worldbuild a fundamentally alien…
Excerpt from "The Black Prince"
Monday, 31 July 2017
Three times, as a baby, he had fallen into sicknesses they were sure would kill him: once with a speckled pox, once a fever that turned him redder than a robin’s breast all over his body, and once he slept for three days and nights and grew cold and clammy as a fish. Yet he survived all three, and by the time he was seven years of age Iorwerth was as strong as any lad of his parish. He…
Writing "The Black Prince"
Monday, 17 July 2017
Following on from my post about Burgess as a historical novelist, I want to say something about the decisions I made in actually writing The Black Prince.
Burgess planned a novel about the life of Edward of Woodstock (1330-1376), known as ‘the Black Prince’, Duke of Cornwall, Prince of Wales from 1343, Prince of Aquitaine from 1362, eldest son of King Edward III and Philippa of Hainault…
Burgess as Historical Novelist
Thursday, 29 June 2017
We don't think of Anthony Burgess primarily as a historical novelist. He wrote so many different types of novel he was more-or-less a whole literary movement on his own: literary fiction, postcolonial writing, science fiction, non-fiction, verse novels, spy adventure (his Tremor of Intent (1966), as richly strange as any experimental novel, also works extremely well as a readable James Bond pastiche…