Anthony Burgess

On this date on 1917, Anthony Burgess (né John Anthony Burgess Wilson) was born in Manchester, England. The author of 50 books, he is best known for his novel, A Clockwork Orange (1962), which was made into a movie directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1971. Burgess was also a translator, critic, composer and librettist. "The ideal reader of my novels is a lapsed Catholic and failed musician, short-sighted, color-blind, auditorily biased, who has read the books that I have read," he told The Paris Review in a 1973 interview. He wrote at least 65 musical compositions, and preferred to be called "a musician who writes novels." He was educated at a Catholic college and graduated from Manchester University in 1940. He joined the British Army Education Corps, which entertained troops in Europe, and was stationed in Gibraltar. He taught after the war, and was a distinguished professor at the City College of New York, 1972-73. Burgess later said a World War II assault inducing a miscarriage in his first wife, Llewela Isherwood Jones, partly inspired his examination of violence in A Clockwork Orange. He also once said, "I don't think there's a heaven, but there's certainly a hell." D. 1993.

“I was brought up a Catholic, became an agnostic, flirted with Islam and now hold a position which may be termed Manichee. I believe the wrong God is temporarily ruling the world and that the true God has gone under. Thus I am a pessimist but believe the world has much solace to offer: love, food, music, the immense variety of race and language, literature and the pleasure of artistic creation.”

—Anthony Burgess, The New York Times obituary, Nov. 26, 1993

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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