A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess was written over a period of three weeks after he was misdiagnosed with brain cancer and given a year to live.He decided to spend that year writing five novels to provide for his wife after his death. Ironically, he outlived her.
TRYING to explain Anthony Burgess, even 23 years after his death, is an anxious exercise; there are too many books, so many legends, and no matter how much one analyses his career, it will always seem incomplete and inconclusive. Still, at the centenary of his birth, Burgess deserves reconsideration, even if Grub Street didn’t deserve him. This matador’s suit of lights, now dusty and somewhat unfashionable, was the improbable array of talents that illuminated English letters so wildly and promiscuously in the postwar decades, each reflected in the facets of the others.
Yet as dazzling as Burgess could be – and as the fearsome, chimerical bulk of his bibliography still is – much of his legacy awaits rediscovery in an age th… Continue Reading (6 minute read)