John Anthony Burgess Wilson was born on February 25, 1917, in Manchester, England. He was raised up by this aunt and later by his stepmother. He studied at Xaverian College and Manchester University, where he studied English language and literature. During World War II, Burgess served at the Royal Army Medical corps. In 1942 he married Llwela Isherwood Jones, who died of alcoholic cirrhosis in 1968. Burgess taught at Birmingham University, worked for the Ministry of Education, and was a teacher at Banbury Grammar School from 1946 to 1950. His first novel, A Vision of Battlement, was published in 1965.
In 1954 Burgess became an education officer in Malaya and Brunei. He wrote his first trilogy Time For A Tiger (1956), The Enemy In The Blanket (1958), and Beds In The East (1959). The work “juxtaposed the progressive disintegration of a hapless civil servant against the birth of Malayan independence”(). Later, Burgess returned to England and was diagnosed as having a cerebral tumor, and given twelve months to live. Burgess busily wrote novels and reviews, so the money can support his wife. However, the doctor made a mistake; Burgess did not have a tumor.
The author lived another 33 years, producing over fifty books and journals. Between 1960 and 1964 Burgess wrote eleven novels. The Wanting Seed (1962) “depicted an overpopulated England of the future, caught up in the alternating cycles of libertarianism and totalitarianism” ( ). In 1962, he wrote his most famous novel A Clockwork Orange, which made him famous as a satirical novelist. In 1971, the novel was made into a film by Stanley Kubrick. The novel was “born from the growth of teenage gangs and the universal application of B. F. Skinner’s behavior theories in prisons, asylums, and psychiatric clinics” ( ).
In 1968, Burgess wrote a humorous novel called Enderby (1968), which “followed the travels of an unconformist poet in England and the continent” ( ). In 1968, Burgess married an Italian “countess” ( ). In 1972, he was appointed a literary adviser to the Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis. Burgess published in the 1970s and 1980s thirty books, among them The Earthly Powers (1980), “which is considered by many critics Burgess’s finest novel. It was narrated by an 81-year-old successful, homosexual writer, Kenneth Toomey, a figure loosely based on W. Somerset Maugham” ( ).
The Kingdom of the Wicked (1985) takes the subject of Christianity. Burgess wrote film scripts and several critical studies – he was a specialist in Shakespeare and Joyce His musical compositions include symphonies, a ballet, and an opera. Burgess’s autobiographies, Little Wilson and Big God (1987) and You’ve Had Your Time (1990) reveal a more self-doubting person than the one that was his public image. Burgess’s third symphony was performed at the University of Iowa in 1975, and his musical version of Ulyssess, Blooms and Dublin, was performed on radio on the centenary of James Joyce’s death.