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Anthony Burgess:

An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator Burgess, Anthony, 1917-1993
Title Anthony Burgess Papers
Dates: 1956-1997 (bulk 1970s-1980s)
Extent 136 boxes, 2 galley folders, 15 oversize boxes, 1 oversize folder (57.12 linear feet)
Abstract: The papers of this English novelist includes typed and holograph manuscripts, sheet music, correspondence, clippings, contracts and legal documents, appointment books, magazines, and photographs.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-0601
Language English.
Access

Open for research




Acquisition

Gift 1995 (G13507); Purchase, 1997 (R13998), 1999 (R14404)

Processed by

Stephen Mielke, Dell Hollingsworth, 1999-2000

Repository:

Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin


Anthony Burgess was born John Anthony Burgess Wilson on February 25, 1917, in Manchester, England. His mother and young sister died of influenza in 1919, leaving Burgess to a blue collar upbringing by his father--a cashier and piano player--an aunt, and later a stepmother. As a child, Burgess was made keenly aware of his Irish Catholic heritage and his education at the parochial Xaverian College instilled an interest in theological themes of good and evil, free will, and social authority which appeared in much of his writing years later.

Burgess entered Manchester University in 1936 with the intention of studying music. Poor grades in physics blocked his acceptance into the Music Department, so he chose instead to focus on composition and language in Manchester's English Department. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in 1940, he entered the Royal Army Medical Corps, later transferring to the Education Corps. In 1942 he married Llewela Isherwood Jones, whom he first met when both were students at Manchester.

Burgess remained in the Army until 1946, serving in Gibraltar. After the war, he held teaching positions with Birmingham University, the Ministry of Education, and Banbury Grammar School. In 1954 he accepted a position with the Colonial Office teaching in Malaya and later Brunei.

While in Malaya, Burgess published his first novels, Time for a Tiger, The Enemy in the Blanket, and Beds in the East, using the pseudonym "Anthony Burgess" to avoid any repercussions from the Colonial Office. These works were republished as the compilation The Long Day Wanes: A Malayan Trilogy (Norton, 1965) and again as Malayan Trilogy (Penguin, 1972).

In 1959 Burgess was sent back to England and released from the Colonial Office after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Troubled by the thought of leaving his wife without income, he wrote five novels in the next year and a total of eleven by 1964. These include The Doctor Is Sick, The Wanting Seed, A Clockwork Orange, Honey for the Bears, and Nothing Like the Sun. He also produced two works, One Hand Clapping and Inside Mr. Enderby, under the pseudonym Joseph Kell.

During the following years, Burgess continued to prove his doctors' prognoses wrong and claimed to write 2,000 words of fair copy per day. He supplemented the income from his novels with literary reviews and essays for numerous newspapers and magazines. He also produced non-fiction books on English literature, linguistics, and the works of James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, and William Shakespeare.

In 1968 Llewela died after years of poor health. Later that year Burgess discovered he had a four-year-old son by Liana Macellari, who he soon married. The three moved to Malta to avoid high British income taxes, and later to Italy and then Monaco. From 1969 to 1973 Burgess held a series of visiting instructor positions at the University of North Carolina, Columbia, Princeton, and City College in New York.

By 1970 Burgess was well known in Britain and Europe for his satirical style and linguistic inventiveness. In 1971 his notoriety grew in America with the release of the movie version of A Clockwork Orange. He continued to write throughout the next two decades, publishing over 30 novels including MF (1971), Napoleon Symphony (1974), Beard's Roman Women (1976), Earthly Powers (1980), The End of the World News (1983), The Kingdom of the Wicked (1985), and Any Old Iron (1989). He also edited literature text books, produced several translations, wrote screenplays for film and television, and continued with his "first love," music composition. Over the course of his life, Burgess wrote pieces ranging from small chamber works to symphonies, primarily as a means of relaxation and amusement.

By the early 1990s Burgess had written more than 60 books, over 150 musical compositions, and continued to publish articles and reviews worldwide. He died in 1993 at age 76, thirty-four years after receiving his one-year terminal diagnosis.


Little Wilson and Big God. Burgess, Anthony. (New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1986).

You've Had Your Time. Burgess, Anthony. (London: Heinemann, 1990).


Typed and holograph manuscripts, sheet music, correspondence, clippings, financial statements, contracts and legal documents, appointment books, notes, magazines, and photographs document the life and work of Anthony Burgess from 1956 to 1997, with the bulk of the materials dating from the 1970s through the 1980s, his most productive years. The papers are organized into four series: I. Works, 1956-1993, n.d. (67 boxes, 2 galley folders, 14 oversize boxes); II. Correspondence, 1968-1995, n.d. (15 boxes); III. Contracts and Royalty Statements, 1956-1997, n.d. (11 boxes); and IV. Subject Files, 1962-1997, n.d. (40 boxes, 1 oversize box, 1 oversize folder).

The earliest materials consist mainly of copies of contracts for Burgess's early novels, and a small number of photographs sent by friends and former acquaintances. The material dated after Burgess's death in 1993 is primarily correspondence to and from his wife, Liana, and a few newspaper clippings.

The bulk of the papers comprise manuscript materials found in the Works series. Most of these materials are fair copy typescripts or photocopies of various drafts of novels, articles, reviews, and musical works. While there are no manuscripts for Burgess's earliest works, including A Clockwork Orange, and very little for his Enderby books, several of his later works such as Earthy Powers, A Dead Man in Deptford, You've Had Your Time, Mozart and the Wolf Gang, and Kingdom of the Wicked are well represented.

Correspondence is found throughout the papers, but is concentrated in the Correspondence series. Letters in Series IV. Subject Files relate to specific topics. Correspondence in the Works series primarily documents the development of the particular piece to which it relates, as does correspondence in Series III. Contracts and Royalty Statements.

The majority of the Burgess material is in English, but there are large amounts of materials in foreign languages including Italian, French, Swedish, Polish, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Malay.


Correspondents

Aggeler, Geoff, 1939-

Birkett, Michael, Baron, 1929-

Bottrall, Ronald, 1906-

Burroughs, William S., 1914-

Caroline, Princess of Monaco, 1957-

Greene, Graham, 1904-

Joannon, Pierre

Jong, Erica

Kollek, Teddy, 1911-

Kubrick, Stanley

Labella, Vincenzo

Lasky, Melvin J.

Menuhin, Yehudi, 1916-

Rudiakov, Michael, 1934-

Snow, C.P. (Charles Percy), 1905-

Snowdon, Anthony Armstrong-Jones, Earl of, 1930-

Waugh, Auberon

Wouk, Herman, 1915-

York, Michael

Organizations

Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

Artellus, Ltd.

The Atlantic Monthly

British Broadcasting Corporation

British Council

Bromberg's (Firm)

Century Hutchinson Publishing Group, Ltd.

City University of New York. City College

Deborah Rogers, Ltd.

Hayakawa Publishing

Heinemann (Firm)

Hutchinson Publishing Group, Ltd.

The Independent

Laurence Pollinger, Ltd.

Liepman (Firm)

Little, Brown and Company

Longman (Firm)

Lysandra Films

The New York Times

The Observer, London

PEN (Organization)

Penguin Books, Ltd.

Phillips, Nizer, Benjamin, Krim & Ballon

Rizzoli Editore

Royal Shakespeare Company

The Sunday Times

University of Notre Dame. Sophomore Literary Festival

W.W. Norton & Company

Subjects

Authors, English--20th century

Music--20th century

Document Types

Christmas cards

Photographs

Postcards

Scripts

Sheet music