Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Anthony Burgess

Anthony Burgess

A Biography

Roger Lewis

Thomas Dunne Books



Interviewer: "On what occasions do you lie?" Anthony Burgess: "When I write, when I speak, when I sleep."

He was the last great modernist. Novelist, composer, librettist, essayist, semanticist, translator, critic, Anthony Burgess's versatility and erudition found expression in more than fifty books and dozens of musical compositions, from operas, choral works and song cycles to symphonies and concertos.

Here now is a kaleidoscope of a book--the culmination of twenty years of writing and research--about a man who remains best known for A Clockwork Orange, the source of Stanley Kubrick's ground breaking, mind bending and prescient film.

Tracking Burgess from Manchester to Malaya to Malta to Monte Carlo, Roger Lewis assesses Burgess's struggles and uncovers the web of truth and illusion about the writer's famous antic disposition. Burgess, the author argues, was just as much a literary confidence man and prankster as a consummate wordsmith.

Outrageously funny, honest and touching, Anthony Burgess explores the divisions that characterize its irascible subject and his darkly comic, bleakly beautiful world of fiction.


Praise for Anthony Burgess

“Not since Lawrence Thompson on Robert Frost has there been a more serious falling out between biographer and subject. The result this time, however, is one extremely lively book, an avalanche of factual revelation, vitriolic wit, and personal disappointment that buries Burgess, and then posts a sign, Hic Jacet.” —Michael Dirda, Washington Post

“One might also conclude from reading Roger Lewis' biography of Burgess, that he was less a genius than a charlatan... The result is a biography drenched in the corrosive acid of love-hate, of infatuation turned to disillusionment, which reads as a scathing attack on Burgess' work and an indictment of his life and character.” —Merle Rubin, Los Angeles Times

“It is a romantic idea that we should identify with the biographical subject... [Lewis] has done nothing less than shatter the mold of the genre.” —Carl Rollyson had his own thoughts in the New York Sun

“Audacious... Lewis has resolved, or corralled, his evolving views of Burgess in this digressive, brilliant, self-indulgent biography, whose pages of text often float atop hedge-high footnotes. It's a bravura performance, an intentionally (let's hope) Burgessian turn: outrageous, probing, debunking, entertaining, sourly euphoric, snarky. ” —Tom Nolan, Boston Herald

“Aiming to situate Burgess in the grand scheme of English -language literary history, Lewis does so magisterially... Trenchant...” —Kirkus Reviews

“A highly stylized, psychodynamic reading...” —Publishers Weekly

“[An] entertaining account of the legendary polymath's life and work... Lewis covers [Burgess's life] in remarkable detail... Burgess devotees...will be fascinated by the story.” —Booklist

“A spiraling, kaleidoscopic biography... Lewis does bring forth Burgess and his creative demons.” —Library Journal

“I have been stunned and baffled by Roger Lewis's vast biography of the stunningly baffling Anthony Burgess.” —Jan Morris, author of The Meaning of Nowhere

“The book abounds with such sublime moments of resurrection, on the wings of Lewis's mordant humor.” —Duncan Fallowell, author of A History of Facelifting

“Like his subject, Lewis is an intellectual showman, a connoisseur of the arcane, a collector of titillating trivia, but with this salient difference: Lewis has a large heart and a generous sense of humor, and he waves a beguiling intimacy with his readers. Fascinated with Burgess's consummate fakery and repelled by his control-freakery, Lewis nonetheless succeeds in humanizing this sacred monster.” —Christopher Silvester, author of Roll Over And Die and editor of The Grove Book of Hollywood

“The book abounds with such sublime moments of resurrection, on the wings of Lewis's mordant humor. The two of them wrestle for every page, and so do the main text and extensive footnotes which open like trapdoors into unexpected worlds. Is this fission or fusion? Either way the energy release is enormous.” —Duncan Fallowell, author of A History of Facelifting

“For good and bad, I learned a lot from Anthony Burgess...a bloody good read.” —Stephen Bayley, author of General Knowledge

“There are passages of such brilliance--especially when he rails against his subject, whom he has come to hate over the 20-year course researching this book--that I found it exhilarating...Lewis is a mad obsessive, more of a stalker than a biographer, but he certainly brings new life to what can otherwise seem a rather tame genre.” —New Statemen Books of the Year

About the author

Roger Lewis

Roger Lewis, formerly a Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, is the author of numerous biographies including Peter Sellers and Laurence Olivier. He is a prolific literary journalist and lives in London.

Roger Lewis

Roger Lewis

From the Publisher

Thomas Dunne Books

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