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By Ben Forkner

Several times during the early summer, I opened my eyes with the sun still at ground level in the east, buoyed by the renewed confidence that I would be able to write this short presentation before the day was done. Buoyancy is a risky condition to carry into the forbidding corridors of even a respectable university, however, especially with no students left to raise the spirits, and I usually found myself at the end of the day, praying for August, and remembering Ben Jonson’s bitter complaint: "What a deal of cold business doth a man mis-spend the better part of life in." Thankfully, August has arrived, and with it enough good news to banish all mis-spending from the memory, at least until September.

A Clockwork Orange Colloquium

The planning of the December colloquium has now reached the final stages, thanks particularly to the tireless energies and good will of Emmanuel Vernadakis who has taken on the lion’s share of the organization. All members of the Anthony Burgess Center have participated, of course, often sacrificing time from their own private research for the good of the cause. Readers of the Newsletter should consult the special entry on the colloquium listed on the title page of our website for full details. We are all looking forward to meeting many of you in Angers in a few months.

BBC Gift

David Thompson has recently donated several boxes of rushes, video tapes, and assorted documents he and Kevin Jackson used in the making of the two-hour BBC documentary on Anthony Burgess, "The Burgess Variations." This is obviously vital research material, a generous and unusual trove for Burgess scholars for years to come, and we are extremely grateful to David Thompson for the offer. As soon as the boxes are opened, and the items catalogued, a full account will be given in the Newsletter.

Paul Boytnick

All Burgess students will recognize the name of Paul Boytnick as the author of the standard Burgess bibliography, Anthony Burgess: An Annotated Bibliography and Reference Guide (New York: Garland Publishing, 1985). I have just learned that Mr Boytnick has donated to the Center various papers and documents he has collected over the years in working on his bibliography. The first batch of this material is now in the hands of Andrew Biswell, who is writing a book on Burgess. Mr Biswell, well known to readers of the Newsletter, will transfer the Boytnick papers to the Center as soon as he is finished with them. On behalf of the other members of the Center, I would like to express our warmest thanks to Mr Boytnick for his generous gesture.

Annual Anthony Burgess Lecture

On April 25 Professor Kay Smith of Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, delivered the annual Burgess lecture in the English Department of the University of Angers. Since these lectures are sponsored by the English Department, I would like to thank the Department Chairman, Professor John Cassini, for his support. Professor Cassini is, of course, an active member of the Center, and one of the chief organizers of the forthcoming Clockwork Orange Colloquium. Professor Smith’s lecture, "Burgess and Will!: Anthony Burgess's Cinematic Presentation of Shakespearean Biography," focused on Burgess’s work on a film based on Shakespeare’s life. The film was never made, but the original Burgess screenplay, "Will or the Bawdy Bard," is available in the holdings of the Harry Ransom Research Center at the University of Texas in Austin. Professor Smith used the screenplay to speculate (in an incisive, and wide-ranging study) on Burgess’s life-long creative fascination with Shakespeare, particularly in the novels, Nothing Like the Sun and Enderby’s Dark Lady. We are grateful to Professor Smith for the lecture, and for allowing us to publish it in this issue of the Newsletter. We were also pleased that Professor Smith’s husband, Ralph, was able to accompany her on the trip, along with Gil Morgenstern (Artistic Director of the Appalachian Summer Festival) who is interested in setting up an exchange with the Burgess Society and Bouvet-Ladubay in Saumur.

Four Essays

Along with Professor Smith’s lecture, three other essays are collected in the current Newsletter. Andrew Biswell provides a thorough accounting of Burgess’s critical reviews for the Yorkshire Post, with a complete bibliographical listing of the reviews. Of special interest are Biswell’s suggestions of relationships between certain books reviewed and Burgess’s own novels at the time. The topographical commentary by Dougie Milton, "Enderby’s Hove," is a perfect example of the type of inspired personal essay I had hoped the Newsletter would attract from the beginning. Perhaps we can arrange to organize our next colloquium at The Neptune and the Freemason’s Arms, or if not, at least persuade Mr Milton and friends (and the red-haired barmaid) to join us in Angers in December. Finally, I am very grateful to Professor Geoffrey Aggeler for sending us his article, "Any Old Iron: An Apocalyptic Epic." In keeping with everything else Geoffrey Aggeler has written on Burgess, including his seminal study, Anthony Burgess: the Artist as Novelist (University of Alabama Press, 1979), his review of Any Old Iron is a fine combination of erudition and insight, shedding light on deeply embedded thematic, structural, and symbolic allusions that will help guide all future readings of the novel. I am pleased to announce that Professor Aggeler will be one of the keynote speakers at the Clockwork Orange Colloquium.

The Chronicles of Liana Burgess

Liana Burgess, I am delighted to report, has agreed to begin a permanent column of information, remembrances, and commentary to be added to whenever she desires. The Chronicles of Liana Burgess will be set up as a separate entry, therefore, and will be listed on the title page of our website. For anyone who knows Liana Burgess, this decision is another remarkable boon for the Center and for Burgess scholars. I hope the authorities of the University of Angers will soon find some way of thanking her for her faithful support of our efforts. I realize that it will be almost impossible to adequately thank her for all she has done these last two years, going back, of course, to her original donation to the University Library. But I would like to strongly suggest to these same authorities that a public ceremony in her honor (even after all this time) might be a good way to begin.

Call for Contributions

For all our readers, remember that we will consider all types of contributions for the Newsletter. Please send them to me, or to Valerie Neveu, and I promise a prompt response. In closing, I would like to thank Valerie, once more, for all her help, patience, and expertise in maintaining our site.


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Last Updated on Sunday, 30 June 2013 19:39