Anthony Burgess has always attracted acclaim and notoriety in roughly equal measure. Admired worldwide for his literary novels -- including Earthly Powers and the Enderby quartet -- he is known to a wider audience as the author of the ultra-violent shocker, A Clockwork Orange. Burgess was a brilliant polymath who for many years regarded himself as a composer rather than a writer. This book looks his solitary childhood, his haphazard education, his anti-heroic army career, his gloomy post-war provincial teaching, and his colourful travels to such diverse places as Malaya, Rome and Leningrad. Burgess's was a unique creativity that engendered complicated relationships with his friends, his publishers, his first wife, his lovers, and other writers such as Graham Greene and William Burroughs. Drawing on extensive interviews, unpublished writings, manuscripts, letters and diaries, The Real Life of Anthony Burgess reveals both the professional writer and the private man as he has never been seen before.
Andrew Biswell wrote his doctoral thesis on Anthony Burgess's fiction and journalism, and is now a lecturer in the English department at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has previously worked as a fiction critic for the Times Literary Supplement, Daily Telegraph, Boston Globe, Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday. He lives in Manchester and Aberdeenshire.