Anthony Burgess versus Stanley Kubrick

I had the pleasure last week of speaking at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, as part of a panel discussion to launch a new book entitled Burgess, Kubrick and A Clockwork Orange.

The book is co-edited by Dr Matt Melia from Kingston University, and Georgina Orgill, the archivist of Stanley Kubrick. For those with an interest in the great brainwashing fable, in either literary or cinematic form, it’s a great read, from Matt and Georgina’s introduction, to the final essay.

The Ponying the Slovos team were honoured to be able to contribute to the volume, and eagerly grasped the opportunity to compare Burgess’s Nadsat to that which features in Stanley Kubrick’s script (and thereafter, the movie itself.)

Alas, as is so often the case with academic research these days, the purchase price is not so cheap. My suggestion is to ask a friendly academic librarian to consider purchasing it on your behalf. However, I can offer you a flavour of what we discovered, and subsequently wrote about in the volume.

M’learned colleague Benet Vincent has written up a fascinating article over at the Ponying the Slovos blog, explaining the differences between Burgess’s Nadsat and Kubrick’s.

I hope you will read it, and perhaps also get the chance to look at the book, not to mention its gorgeous cover.

Sapienship Lab now live!

Last January, I flew out of Cappadocia and left academia, which was a strange thing for me to do really, since I’d aspired to be an academic for decades before I finally achieved it.

So what lured me away? The opportunity to work with Professor Yuval Noah Harari and his NGO Sapienship, a social impact company that aims to focus global attention on issues of global importance, including the climate crisis, technological disruption and the prevalence of war.

So what have I been doing with them for the past year? Largely, I’ve been working with my colleagues developing the Sapienship Lab which launches today. There’s a lot of content in there already and much more to come over the coming weeks and months. It even includes some audio dramas I wrote which I guess count as my first published science fiction in a while.

Most of the content is factual, educational, and intended to act as a guide through the labyrinth that is our fast-moving now. A lot is aimed at middle schoolkids through to undergrads, but we hope that everyone can learn something from it.

I miss teaching but I feel that in my new role I can still educate, albeit remotely, and contributing to the Lab is how I’m doing that now. I hope you’ll take a look at some of what we’ve prepared. It’s taken a lot of people a long time to put all this together.

And perhaps you might share it too with anyone who might be interested, which hopefully will transpire to be everyone, because we strongly believe that we’re all in this together and only by talking and listening to everyone will we manage to improve our world.

‘Beyond Nadsat’ now in print and available for free via Open Access

Over at Ponying the Slovos, our ongoing project on invented languages in art and literature, I wrote a series of posts on Anthony Burgess’s other invented languages a couple of years back, of which there are more than a few.

These collected thoughts have now been expanded, revised and published in the peer-reviewed Hungarian journal of English literature, The Anachronist, and (almost all) the journal is free to read or download in the spirit of open access thanks to the publishers at ELTE, Hungary’s foremost university.

 View Vol. 20 (2022): Burgess and Droogs: A Post-Centennial Collection of Essays

In this paper, Burgess is used to demonstrate that the role of invented languages in literature goes far beyond the existing well-explored territories of Science Fiction (SF) or High Fantasy, though they predominate therein, and can also be found in historical novels, and even realist fiction, as Burgess’s variegated novels reveal.

This is Ponying the Slovos’s second publication for 2023, and it’s not even two weeks in. We might need a little lie-down!

Anyhow, feel free to read the article here, and the whole journal, all of which will be of interest to Burgess scholars, may be accessed from this page.