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Monday, 30 March 2015

Significant Burgess

A report in the Daily Mail says that English Heritage won’t be putting up a blue plaque for Anthony Burgess on a property in Glebe Street, to commemorate that he lived there the author between 1963 and 1968. They suggested consideration may be made in five years’ time instead of the usual ten for reapplication.

I can’t find this item elsewhere, but if it is valid then it does seem rather crass, considering their statement for refusal is that ‘it is too soon after his death to evaluate the merits of shortlisting.’

Burgess died in 1993 – twenty-two years ago. I know he was prolific - he wrote 33 novels, 25 non-fiction pieces, three symphonies, over 150 other musical works and other works – but surely by now, not to mention over his lifetime, the merits of his output should be plain.

There is a UK plaque in honour of Burgess at the University of Manchester, which was unveiled in 2012. There is also a plaque outside his flat in Monaco, where he lived for seventeen years.

Born on February 25, 1917, in Manchester, England, Anthony Burgess was a novelist, poet, playwright, screenwriter and composer. He was fluent in nine languages. Well known novels included The Wanting Seed, Inside Mr. Enderby, Earthly Powers and A Clockwork Orange; the latter was adapted into a popular though controversial 1971 Stanley Kubrik film. He died on November 22, 1993 in London.

I have many favourite authors, and he is one of them. Leslie Thomas called him ‘a writer’s author’. There is an affectionate and enlightening lengthy article by Blake Morrison in the Guardian, (February 2015) concerning Burgess:


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