"A Clockwork Orange" is a dystopian future novel written by Anthony Burgess and published in 1962. The book was successful in part due to its fascinating usage of a slang developed by Burgess that combines English Cockney rhyming slang, modified Slavic words and many words that Burgess made up himself. The slang is referred to […]
John Anthony Burgess Wilson
John Anthony Burgess Wilson was born on February 17th, 1917 in Harpurhey, Lancashire, England. Burgess grew up in a Catholic family during the Great Depression although his family was comparatively well off as his father ran a tobacco and alcohol shop.
During the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918, Burgess lost both his mother and his sister to the illness. After his mother's death, Burgess was sent to live with his aunt Ann until his father remarried in 1922. In 1938, Burgess' father died and left him no inheritance.
Burgess attended Xaverian College from 1928 to 1937 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. Burgess met Llewela Isherwood Jones while at University and the two married in 1942.
During World War II, Burgess served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and later became a sergeant in the Army Educational Corps. After the war, Burgess became a lecturer in drama and speech at the Mid-West School of Education in Wolverhampton and later at a training college near Preston.
In 1950 he began teaching English Literature at a grammar school in Banbury. After joining the British Colonial Service, Burgess became a teacher in Malaya and it was there that he wrote and published his first novels, "Time for a Tiger" (1956), "The Enemy in the Blanket" (1958) and "Beds in the East" (1959). These later became known as his "Malayan Trilogy".
After leaving Malaya, Burgess traveled farther east to Brunei for another teaching job. Burgess and his wife were soon sent away from Brunei for reasons that have been disputed ever since. Burgess soon became ill and was told that he had an inoperable brain tumor. He began writing furiously, desperate to give his wife some money to live off of after he was gone.
It was during this period in 1960 that he published three more books and two more the following year in 1961. Burgess soon returned to the hospital and was told that there was no sign of any tumor in his brain. By this time, he had made so much money publishing books that he was able to quit teaching and become a full-time writer.
In 1962, Burgess published what was to become his best-known work, "A Clockwork Orange". By this point, Burgess and his wife were estranged and he had begun an affair with an Italian translator named Liliana Macellari. Macellari gave birth to Burgess' son Paolo in 1964.
In 1968, Burgess wife died of cirrhosis of the liver and six months later Burgess married Liana. During the 1970's, Burgess and his family toured Europe and briefly lived in the United States where Burgess became a visiting professor at Princeton University among other prestigious colleges.
Eventually, he moves to Monaco where he became a co-founder of the Princess Grace Irish Library and the center for Irish cultural studies in 1984.
Burgess died from lung cancer on November 22nd, 1993 at his home in Twickenham, England. His ashes were returned to Monaco where they were interred in the Monaco Cemetery. He was survived by his wife and son who died in 2007 and 2002, respectively.