The Aesthetics of Anthony Burgess

The debates about modernity and modernism seem neverending, especially since we now accept that postmodernism is over, but we aren’t agreed on what follows postmodernism.

One thing we can be certain of, however, is that modernism did not end with the second world war. The spirit of experimentalism, innovation, linguistic pyrotechnics, and stylistic panache continued into late modernism and arguably still exists today, just like punk music and dressing for dinner.

One of the finest practitioners of late modernism was Anthony Burgess, a polymath from Manchester, who spent most of his life outside of Britain, but nevertheless was an acute and sanguine observer of the British.

I wrote my PhD and my first monograph on Anthony Burgess, have curated the Oxford Bibliography of Anthony Burgess, and written many papers on his work. You should read him. Not just A Clockwork Orange either. So much of his work is astonishing. Against my better judgement, I’m writing another book on him currently because it allows me to enjoy his fiction all over again. I wouldn’t bet against further work down the line either. Meanwhile, there’s this: