Anthony Burgess

(25 February 1917 – 22 November 1993)

Biography of Anthony Burgess

Anthony Burgess poet

John Anthony Burgess Wilson – who published under the pen name Anthony Burgess – was an English writer and composer. From relatively modest beginnings in a Manchester Catholic family in the North of England, he eventually became one of the best known English literary figures of the latter half of the twentieth century.

Although Burgess was predominantly a comic writer, the dystopian satire A Clockwork Orange remains his best known novel. In 1971 it was adapted into a highly controversial film by Stanley Kubrick, which Burgess said was chiefly responsible for the popularity of the book. Burgess produced numerous other novels, including the Enderby quartet, and Earthly Powers, regarded by most critics as his greatest novel. He also worked as a literary critic, writing studies of classic writers, most notably James Joyce. He was a longtime literary critic for The Observer and The Guardian.

Burgess was also an accomplished musician and linguist. He composed over 250 musical works, including a first symphony around age 18, wrote a number of libretti, and translated, among other works, Cyrano de Bergerac, Oedipus the King and Carmen.

The dystopian satire A Clockwork Orange is Burgess's most famous novel, though he dismissed it as one of his lesser works, and it is in many ways an atypical Burgess work. It was adapted into a highly controversial 1971 film by Stanley Kubrick, which Burgess said was chiefly responsible for the popularity of the book. Burgess produced numerous other novels, including the Enderby quartet, and Earthly Powers, regarded by most critics as his greatest novel.

Burgess was a prominent literary critic and journalist, writing acclaimed studies of classic writers such as William Shakespeare, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence and Ernest Hemingway.

Burgess was also an accomplished musician and linguist. He composed over 250 musical works, including a first symphony around age 18, wrote a number of libretti, and translated, among other works, Cyrano de Bergerac, Oedipus the King and Carmen.

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