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University of Texas at Austin

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: 139 boxes, 2 galley folders (gf), 20 oversize boxes (osb), 1 oversize folder (osf) (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

Administrative Information

Acquisition Gift 1995 (G13507); Purchase, 1997 (R13998), 1999 (R14404)
Processed by Stephen Mielke, Dell Hollingsworth, Daniel Seriff, 1999-2003

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

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).

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents

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, undated (67 boxes, 2 galley folders, 17 oversize boxes); II. Correspondence, 1968-1995, undated (15 boxes); III. Contracts and Royalty Statements, 1956-1997, undated (11 boxes); and IV. Subject Files, 1962-1997, undated (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.

Series Descriptions

Series I. Works, 1956-1997, undated(67 boxes, 2 galley folders, 19 oversize boxes)
The Works Series documents Burgess's literary and musical activities with manuscripts and small amounts of correspondence. There are few examples of holograph manuscripts, one exception being a desk calendar containing a draft of Byrne in Burgess's hand. The majority of materials are fair copy typescripts and photocopies containing relatively little emendation or correction.
Materials are divided into four subseries reflecting Burgess's own organization: A. Extended, B. Articles and Reviews, C. Introductions, and D. Music. Some works, such as 1789, Blooms of Dublin, Oberon, and The Eve of St. Venus, have materials located in both Subseries A. and Subseries D., as well as in Series IV. Subject Files.
Subseries A. Extended Works, 1956-1997, undated(53 boxes)
This subseries consists of various manuscript forms of novels, academic works, short stories, biographies, children's books, translations, and radio, television and film scripts. Arrangement is alphabetical by title, and includes over ninety separate works, some unfinished or unpublished. Materials for foreign, alternate, or working titles are included under the main title and several short stories are listed together under the heading "Short Stories."
There is little manuscript material for works before 1970--the earliest item is original artwork for the dust jacket of the 1956 novel Time for a Tiger. Large numbers of Italian translation typescripts are present for A Dead Man in Deptford, Earthly Powers, The End of the World News, Kingdom of the Wicked, The Long Day Wanes, and Man of Nazareth, as well as for several folders of unidentified works. Small amounts of Italian, French, Spanish, German, and Swedish typescripts are found throughout the subseries.
Among the motion picture scripts are an unused submission Burgess wrote for the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me and correspondence, production information, and typescript drafts of the Neanderthal "Ulam" language that Burgess helped develop for the film Quest for Fire.
Incomplete manuscript fragments for Oberon, Kingdom of the Wicked and Homage to QWERT YUIOP are located in Series III. Contracts and Royalty Statements.
Subseries B. Articles and Reviews, 1966-1993, undated (14 boxes)
Voluminous files of articles and reviews in Subseries B. give evidence to Burgess's prolific writing during the later part of his life. Burgess stated that as a novelist he had to produce book reviews and newspaper and magazine articles to supplement his meager income. The London Observer, The Independent, The New York Times, The Times Literary Supplement, The Irish Press, and Svenska Dagbladet all solicited Burgess heavily from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. Some articles appear in more than one publication, and many were reproduced in French, German, Italian, and other non-English publications. The majority of manuscripts in this series are fair copy typescripts. Many are present in multiple formats and include clippings of the printed works and photocopies. The small amount of correspondence present is primarily incoming letters from publishers.
These journalistic writings are arranged in three groups reflecting Burgess's filing systems. First there is a group filed in alphabetical order by the publication title, with major publications followed by another alphabetical grouping of smaller publications. These date roughly from the late 1970s to the mid 1980s. This is followed by materials stored in binders and labeled I-IV and VII-XI. These are in rough chronological order and date mostly from the early to late 1980s. Finally, there are several boxes of articles that are indexed. These date from the mid 1980s to the early 1990s. There is much overlap and duplication between these three arrangements and further duplication found in the files for Burgess's published compilation of articles, Homage to QWERT YUIOP, located in Subseries A., and in the "Magazines" section of the Subject Files.
Subseries C. Introductions, 1978-1993, undated (1 box)
This is the smallest of the subseries contained in the Works series and consists largely of typed drafts and photocopies of printed introductions that Burgess wrote for works by other authors. Also included are introductions for television and radio programs, and comments made at conferences and other engagements.
The first five introductions are arranged alphabetically by title and include correspondence to and from authors or publishers of the works. The remaining introductions are in rough chronological order and are listed in an index located in the front of Box 66, Folder 8.
Subseries D. Music, 1970-1994(3 boxes, 17 oversize boxes)
The Music subseries includes manuscripts for approximately 120 musical works dating from 1970 to 1994, along with sketches, drafts and fragments. There are songs, piano pieces, string quartets, guitar quartets, sonatas and other chamber works, choral works, concertos, scores for plays and films, overtures and other symphonic works. Vocal pieces include settings of texts by James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, Gerard Manley Hopkins and T. S. Eliot. Also included are published editions of Weber's Oberon and Berlioz's Enfance du Christ containing Burgess's working notes for his English translations of the texts. And several works by Burgess's son Andrew Burgess Wilson are also present.
The music material is organized primarily by musical genre. Multiple copies of a work or materials which all relate to a single work have been housed together. Works represented by large amounts of related materials have been housed in separate boxes (e.g., Mr. Burgess's Almanack and several of the dramatic works).
Printed editions of several smaller published pieces are located with the original manuscript material for those works. Works published posthumously are housed together at the end of the subseries.
Articles, reviews, photos, envelopes and letters included with the scores have been retained with the associated materials. Alphabetical and chronological indexes to the musical works are located at the end of the finding aid.
Series II. Correspondence, 1968-1995, undated (15 boxes)
Series II. contains Burgess's personal and professional correspondence from 1968 to 1995 with the bulk dating from the 1970s through the 1980s. The original filing schemes have been maintained as have the original file headings. Arrangement is either chronological or alphabetical. There is much overlap in Burgess's organization within this series. Correspondence from individuals or on specific topics can often be found in more than one location. This is likely due to the period of time that the correspondence covers. Between the late 1960s and the early 1990s, Burgess moved from England to Malta to Italy and then Monaco, with extended stays in the United States. The manner in which he maintained and used his correspondence changed over the years and between locations. His wife Liana also handled a great deal of his correspondence for him, and did not always maintain the letters in the same arrangement as her husband.
The majority of the correspondence is incoming with a large amounts of third party correspondence, especially between Liana and Burgess's literary agents, Gabriele Pantucci and Deborah Rogers. Outgoing letters are usually filed with related incoming correspondence. Requests for autographs and commentary on his works make up the bulk of the Fans and Colleagues file. Files titled "Friends and Writers" and "Publishers" contain the most overlap, and along with the "Deborah Rogers" file contain the most correspondence directly related to Burgess's creative activities.
Correspondence with other authors, such as Erica Jong and Graham Greene, frequently provides insight into their own works as well as Burgess's. Authors often wrote Burgess in response to his published reviews of their works or to comment on his latest novel.
Material found under the headings Volume I - Volume VI is likely retired correspondence separated from active files. At the front of each of these volumes is a typed index prepared by Liana Burgess.
Additional correspondence can be found throughout the Burgess papers, particularly in the Contracts and Royalty Statements series. Incoming correspondence is included in the index located at the end of this finding aid. Outgoing, third party, and general fan mail is not included in the index.
Series III. Contracts and Royalty Statements, 956-1997, undated (11 boxes)
Series III. consists of legal and business documents relating to the publication and translation of Burgess's works throughout the world. Materials are arranged alphabetically by title of work or by general headings, such as "Children's Books." The bulk of the materials are photocopies of contracts and financial statements from publishers. There is also a 1964 contract between Burgess and his first wife Llewela.
There is some overlap with material found in other series. Contracts for Carmen, The Childhood of Christ, Dawn Chorus, The Dirty Tricks of Bartoldo, and Flame Into Being are found in Series IV. Subject Files. The "Publishers and Producers" and "Deborah Rogers" files in the Correspondence series also contain similar materials.
Series IV. Subject Files, 1962-1997, undated (40 boxes, 1 oversize box, 1 oversize folder)
Series IV. contains the most varied materials in the collection, including clippings, correspondence, serial publications, publishers catalogs, photographs, works by others, bibliographies, biographical information, appointment and address books, notes and notebooks, scrapbooks, newsletters, and pamphlets. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topical heading. There is sometimes overlap between files, such as related correspondence and clippings located under "Royal Shakespeare Company" and also "Reviews-Cyrano."
Burgess's works are represented in this series largely by clippings of reviews, with small and scattered amounts of correspondence and manuscript fragments. These files are arranged alphabetically by the title of each work, under the main heading "Reviews." Some works, such as Carmen and A Mouthful of Air, have files within the "Reviews" heading and also have a separate subject file in the series.
Most files contain general research material, including notes, clippings, and correspondence. The file for "A Clockwork Orange" does not contain material related to the original novel, but instead documents the 1972 Stanley Kubrick film, a lawsuit brought by Burgess against the film's production company, and later theatrical productions. The "Personal" file consists of financial, travel and real estate correspondence; notes and letters between Burgess, his son and his wife; and a copy of a Burgess will. Of note in the "Scrapbook" file is an autograph poem by Burgess titled "Après Charles d' Orléans." Another autograph poem, "Letter to Scotland" is located in the "Reviews" file for Honey for the Bears.
"Magazines" and "Publisher's Catalogs" each consist of several boxes of unfoldered publications in alphabetical order. Address and appointment books are also unfoldered and located together in Boxes 96-98 in rough chronological order. "Works by Others," located at the end of the series, are arranged alphabetically by author. These works are predominantly manuscripts of academic papers, interviews, or fictional works sent to or collected by Burgess.

Separated Material

Sound Recordings were transferred to the Ransom Center's Sound Recording collection and are described individually in a list at the end of this finding aid and in a searchable database

Index Terms


Aggeler, Geoff, 1939-2018.
Birkett, Michael, Baron, 1929-2015.
Bottrall, Ronald, 1906-1989.
Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997.
Caroline, Princess of Monaco, 1957- .
Greene, Graham, 1904-1991.
Joannon, Pierre.
Jong, Erica.
Kollek, Teddy, 1911-2007.
Kubrick, Stanley.
Labella, Vincenzo.
Lasky, Melvin J.
Menuhin, Yehudi, 1916-1999.
Rudiakov, Michael, 1934-2000.
Snow, C. P. (Charles Percy), 1905-1980.
Snowdon, Anthony Armstrong-Jones, Earl of, 1930-2017.
Waugh, Auberon.
Wouk, Herman, 1915-2019.
York, Michael.


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.


Authors, English--20th century.
Music--20th century.

Document Types

Christmas cards.
Sheet music.

Anthony Burgess Papers--Folder List