The International Anthony Burgess Foundation Podcast
Ninety-Nine Novels: A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
In 1984, Anthony Burgess published Ninety-Nine Novels, a selection of his favourite novels in English since 1939. The list is typically idiosyncratic, and shows the breadth of Burgess's interest in fiction. This podcast, by the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, explores the novels on Burgess's list with the help of writers, critics and other special guests.
In this episode, Andrew Biswell explores Christopher Isherwood’s 1964 novel A Single Man. Guiding him through the novel is Isherwood's authorised biographer and editor of his letters and diaries, Katherine Bucknell.
A Single Man tells the story of George, an English professor living in suburban Los Angeles and grieving the death of his lover, Jim. Set over one day, the novel is a deeply moving study of grief and a sensitive portrait of the aftermath of a committed gay relationship, published at a time when notions such as same-sex marriage were controversial and prohibited by law.
Christopher Isherwood was born near Stockport, England, in 1904. In 1929, he travelled to Berlin with W.H. Auden, which provided material for a sequence of novels, most notably Goodbye to Berlin, which was the basis for the hit musical Cabaret. Isherwood emigrated to the United States in 1939, first to New York with Auden, and then to California. In 1953, he met Don Bachardy and they formed a lifelong relationship. Isherwood died in 1986.
Katherine Bucknell is a biographer, editor and novelist. She has edited three volumes of Isherwood’s diaries, and The Animals, a volume of letters between Isherwood and Bachardy, which is also the basis of a podcast hosted by Katherine. Her novels include Leninsky Prospekt, Canarino, What You Will, and +1. She is the founder of the W.H. Auden Society and the director of the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. She is currently working on a major new biography of Christopher Isherwood.
BOOKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
By Christopher Isherwood:
Goodbye to Berlin (1939)
Prater Violet (1945)
Down There on a Visit (1962)
A Meeting by the River (1967)
Christopher and His Kind (1976)
Bhagavad Vita (c. 200 BCE)
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1879-80)
Father Sergius by Leo Tolstoy (1911)
Ulysses by James Joyce (1922)
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (1925)
The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham (1944)
The theme music is Anthony Burgess’s Concerto for Flute, Strings and Piano in D Minor, and is performed by No Dice Collective
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A Clockwork Orange: The Prophecy – The Making of the Documentary Film33:15In this episode, Andrew Biswell exploring the making of the new documentary film, A Clockwork Orange: The Prophecy, with the directors Elisa Mantin and Benoit Felici.A Clockwork Orange: The Prophecy, is the first new documentary to focus on Burgess for 25 years. Drawing on archive footage, startling new animations, and interviews with major cultural figures such as Will Self and Ai Weiwei, this documentary reconsiders the 60-year history of A Clockwork Orange as a novel, film, stage play and cultural influence.LINKS:To watch the French version, Orange méchanique: les rouages de la violence, click here.To watch the German version, Clockwork Orange: Im Räderwerk der Gewalt, click here.International Anthony Burgess FoundationSign up to our free newsletter
Christmas Special: Anthony Burgess Reads A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens01:02:29In this episode, we hand the microphone over to Anthony Burgess himself, as he gives a special festive reading of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of our listeners! We'll be back in 2024 with more podcasts.For more information about Anthony Burgess and to find out how you can support the work of the Burgess Foundation, visit our website.
Ninety-Nine Novels: Lanark by Alasdair Gray53:32In this episode, we’re exploring a parallel universe Glasgow as we talk about Alasdair Gray’s Lanark with writer and biographer Rodge Glass.Lanark is a strange, experimental book that immediately thrusts the reader into a weird world with glimmers of familiarity. It’s a novel with two stories, that weave around each other but don’t quite come together in an obvious way. It begins with the story of a man called Lanark, whose lonely existence in the city of Unthank is eventually disturbed when his skin begins to grow dragon scales. This story is interrupted by that of Duncan Thaw, who remembers his journey to become an artist, studying at the Glasgow School of Art and struggling to get by painting murals around the city. What, if anything, is the connection between Thaw and Lanark?Alasdair Gray was born in Riddrie, Glasgow in 1934. He began studying at the Glasgow School of Art in 1953, where he started writing Lanark. He graduated in 1957 and painted murals around Glasgow. Many of his murals have been lost, but some can still be seen around the city. Most famously, his mural at the Òran Mór theatre is the largest public artwork in Scotland. Alongside his career as an artist he wrote nine novels, five collections of short stories, and several works for the theatre. He died in 2019.Rodge Glass is the author of seven published books across fiction, the graphic novel, the short story and nonfiction, including Alasdair Gray: A Secretary's Biography, which won a Somerset Maugham Award for Nonfiction, and his new book Michel Faber: The Writer & his Work, published by Liverpool University Press in August 2023. He is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and was the Convener of the 2nd International Alasdair Gray Conference hosted in Glasgow in 2022. He works closely with the Alasdair Gray Archive on creative commissions, academic work and on building Gray's legacy internationally.-----BOOKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODEBy Alasdair Gray:'The Star' in Unlikely Stories, Mostly (1983)1982, Janine (1984)The Fall of Kelvin Walker (1985)Poor Things (1992)A Life in Pictures (2009)By others:Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes (1651)'The Crystal Egg' in The Country of the Blind and Other Selected Stories by HG Wells (1897)Finnegans Wake by James Joyce (1939)Alasdair Gray: A Secretary's Biography by Rodge Glass (2009)-----LINKSAlasdair Gray: A Secretary's Biography by Rodge Glass (affiliate link)Michel Faber: The Writer & His Work by Rodge Glass (affiliate link)The Alasdair Gray ArchiveInternational Anthony Burgess FoundationThe theme music for the Ninety-Nine Novels podcast is Anthony Burgess’s Concerto for Flute, Strings and Piano in D Minor, performed by No Dice Collective.-----If you’ve enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to subscribe and review wherever you get your podcasts.
Ninety-Nine Novels: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison58:17In 1984, Anthony Burgess published Ninety-Nine Novels, a selection of his favourite novels in English since 1939. The list is typically idiosyncratic, and shows the breadth of Burgess's interest in fiction. This podcast, by the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, explores the novels on Burgess's list with the help of writers, critics and other special guests.In this episode, Graham Foster explores pre-civil rights America in Ralph Ellison’s 1952 novel Invisible Man, with writer and academic Sterling L. Bland Jr.Invisible Man follows a nameless black narrator, from his early life as a student of an all-black college based on the Tuskegee Institute, through his expulsion and move to New York where he takes up a series of low status jobs before he falls in with a radical political group called The Brotherhood and takes part in a race riot in Harlem. The novel is part bildungsroman, part satire, and full of literary allusion, allegory and rich imagery. It’s also an impassioned commentary on the black experience in an America marked by segregation, inequality and racism.Ralph Ellison was born in Oklahoma in 1914. He discovered the power of literature at the Tuskegee Institute, even though he left before graduating. In 1936, he moved to New York, meeting writers Langston Hughes and Richard Wright. Invisible Man was the only novel published in his lifetime, though he also published two volumes of essays. Since his death in 1994, his second, unfinished, novel was published in 1999 under the title Juneteenth. A longer version of this novel was published in 2010 under the title Three Days Before the Shooting… There have also been two further volumes of essays, a collection of short stories, and two selections of his letters.Sterling Lecater Bland, Jr. is a professor in the departments of English, Africana Studies, and American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. He is the author of Voices of the Fugitives: Runaway Slave Stories and Their Fictions of Self-Creation and Understanding Nineteenth Century Slave Narratives. He has written extensively about Ralph Ellison and contributed essays to books such as Approaches to Teaching the Works of Ralph Ellison, and Ralph Ellison in Context. His most recent book is In the Shadow of Invisibility: Ralph Ellison and the Promise of American Democracy.-----BOOKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODEBy Ralph Ellison:Shadow and Act: Essays (1964)Going to the Territory: Essays (1986)Juneteenth (1999), also published in a longer form as Three Days Before the Shooting... (2010)By others:The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1884)Light in August by William Faulkner (1932)Native Son by Richard Wright (1940)The Mansion by William Faulkner (1959)The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1970)Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (1977)The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead (1999)-----LINKSIn the Shadow of Invisibility: Ralph Ellison and the Promise of American Democracy by Sterling L. Bland Jr. (affiliate link)Ralph Ellison FoundationInternational Anthony Burgess FoundationThe theme music is Anthony Burgess’s Concerto for Flute, Strings and Piano in D Minor, and is performed by No Dice Collective.
Ninety-Nine Novels: A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell48:16In 1984, Anthony Burgess published Ninety-Nine Novels, a selection of his favourite novels in English since 1939. The list is typically idiosyncratic, and shows the breadth of Burgess's interest in fiction. This podcast, by the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, explores the novels on Burgess's list with the help of writers, critics and other special guests.In this episode, Will Carr explores the world of Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time with writer and academic Nicholas Birns.A Dance to the Music of Time is a twelve-volume roman-fleuve following fifty years in the life of the narrator Nick Jenkins from his schooldays in the 1920s through the Second World War to his later years at the beginning of the 1970s.Anthony Powell was born in Westminster, London in 1905. As well as the twelve volumes of A Dance to the Music of Time, he wrote seven further novels, four volumes of memoir, several plays and various works of non-fiction. He died in 2000, aged 94.Nicholas Birns is on the faculty of New York University, where he teaches contemporary world literature in English. His most recent book is The Cambridge Companion to the Australian Novel which he co-edited with Louis Klee. His first book Understanding Anthony Powell appeared in 2004 and he is a founding member of the Anthony Powell Society.-----BOOKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODEDavid Copperfield by Charles Dickens (1850)War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1867)The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy (1906-21)Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust (1913-27)Ulysses by James Joyce (1922)The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh (1928)Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh (1930)The Malayan Trilogy by Anthony Burgess (1956-9)Owls Do Cry by Janet Frame (1957)Riders in the Chariot by Patrick White (1961)Alms for Oblivion by Simon Raven (1964-76)The Novel Now by Anthony Burgess (1967)The Novels of Anthony Powell by Robert K Morris (1968)Invitation to Dance: A Handbook to Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time by Hilary Spurling (1977)The Novels of Anthony Powell by James Tucker (1977)The Harpur and Iles Series by Bill James (1985-2019)The Lampitt Chronicles by A.N. Wilson (1988-96)The Night Soldiers Series by Alan Furst (1988-2019)The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud (2006)Dance Class: American High-School Students Encounter Anthony Powell's Dance to the Music of Time compiled by John A Gould (2009) -----LINKSUnderstanding Anthony Powell by Nicholas BirnsNicholas Birns on Twitter and InstagramThe Anthony Powell SocietyInternational Anthony Burgess FoundationThe theme music is Anthony Burgess’s Concerto for Flute, Strings and Piano in D Minor, and is performed by No Dice Collective.-----
Ninety-Nine Novels: The Aerodrome by Rex Warner50:11In 1984, Anthony Burgess published Ninety-Nine Novels, a selection of his favourite novels in English since 1939. The list is typically idiosyncratic, and shows the breadth of Burgess's interest in fiction. This podcast, by the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, explores the novels on Burgess's list with the help of writers, critics and other special guests.In this episode, Graham Foster assesses the dystopian threats of Rex Warner's 1942 novel The Aerodrome. Writer and academic Joseph Darlington guides us through Warner’s politics, his representations of England and whether or not the novel is truly a dystopia.The Aerodrome is set in a nameless but idyllic rural village, where the inhabitants live rough but blameless lives attending church, frequenting the pub and enjoying village fetes. But on a hill overlooking the village, a mysterious militaristic aerodrome has been constructed, and threatens to overwhelm the entire countryside. Our hero Roy, disillusioned with village life, attempts to resist the lure of the Air-Vice Marshall, a charismatic leader who promises order and excitement.Rex Warner was born in Birmingham in 1905, and was a renowned classicist, writer, poet and translator. He attended Wadham College, Oxford, where he became friends with W.H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis. During the 1930s he developed strong anti-fascist beliefs, something reflected in his first three novels: The Wild Goose Chase, The Professor, and The Aerodrome. He wrote seven further novels, three books of poetry, and many volumes of non-fiction including translations from Ancient Greek and Latin. His translation of Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War for Penguin Classics sold over a million copies, and is still in print today. He died in 1973.Joseph Darlington is the author of The Experimentalists, published by Bloomsbury, a collective biography of British experimental novelists of the 1960s. He is also the author of the novel The Girl Beneath the Ice, published by Northodox, and the co-editor of the Manchester Review of Books.--------BOOKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODEBy Rex Warner:The Wild Goose Chase (1937)The Professor (1938)Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War (translation, 1954)By others;Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke (1790)The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy (1886)The Castle by Franz Kafka (1926)Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)Quack! Quack! by Leonard Woolf (1935)Swastika Night by Katherine Burdekin (1937)The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell (1937)Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (1949)A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (1962)1985 by Anthony Burgess (1978)The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)The Mushroom Jungle: A History of Postwar Paperback Publishing by Steve Holland (1993)The Mortmere Stories by Christopher Isherwood and Edward Upward (1994)The Wall by John Lanchester (2019)The Death of H.L. Hix by H.L. Hix (2021)-------LINKSThe Experimentalists by Joseph Darlington at BloomsburyJoseph Darlington on TwitterInternational Anthony Burgess Foundation-------
Ninety-Nine Novels: Falstaff by Robert Nye53:29In 1984, Anthony Burgess published Ninety-Nine Novels, a selection of his favourite novels in English since 1939. The list is typically idiosyncratic, and shows the breadth of Burgess's interest in fiction. This podcast, by the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, explores the novels on Burgess's list with the help of writers, critics and other special guests.In this episode, we’re discussing the bawdy, gluttonous and flatulent Falstaff by Robert Nye, with writer and academic, Rob Spence.Falstaff is a masterpiece of obscene excess. Telling the story of the medieval knight Sir John Fastolf, reportedly the model for Shakespeare’s famous rake Falstaff, Nye’s novel is split into 100 chapters, and goes from Fastolf’s conception on the penis of the Cerne Abbas Giant to his death at the age of 81. It’s a novel Burgess calls Rabelaisian, saying it is a ‘bold venture and an indication of what the novel can do when it frees itself from the constraints of the Jamesian tradition.’Robert Nye was an award-winning poet, novelist and critic, whose work was often inspired by his deep knowledge and love of literature. As a novelist, his work includes novels about Merlin, Faust, Lord Byron, and the companion-in-arms of Joan of Arc, Gilles de Rais. Born in London, he settled in Cork, Ireland, where he died in 2016.Rob Spence is a retired academic. He has published on a range of modern and contemporary authors, including Anthony Burgess, Robert Nye, Ford Madox Ford, Louis de Bernieres, Wyndham Lewis and Penelope Fitzgerald.-----BOOKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODEBy Robert Nye:Beowulf: A New Telling (1968)Merlin (1978)Faust (1980)The Memoirs of Lord Byron (1989)The Life and Death of My Lord Gilles de Rais (1990)By others:Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe (c. 1592)Henry IV (Parts One and Two) by William Shakespeare (c. 1597-99)Henry V by William Shakespeare (c. 1599)The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare (1602)The Tempest by William Shakespeare (c. 1610)Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (1749)The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne (1759-67)Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton (1941)The Great Tradition by F.R. Leavis (1948)The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth (1960)Nothing Like the Sun by Anthony Burgess (1964)Beyond the Words: Eleven Writers in Search of a New Fiction, ed. by Giles Gordon (1975)A Long Trip to Tea Time by Anthony Burgess (1976)Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess (1980)Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (1981)A Dead Man in Deptford by Anthony Burgess (1993)Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon (1997)-----LINKSRob Spence OnlineGuardian obituary of Robert NyeInternational Anthony Burgess FoundationThe theme music is Anthony Burgess’s Concerto for Flute, Strings and Piano in D Minor, and is performed by No Dice Collective.-----If you’ve enjoyed this episode, why not leave us a review and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
Ninety-Nine Novels: The Long Good-bye by Raymond Chandler01:11:13In 1984, Anthony Burgess published Ninety-Nine Novels, a selection of his favourite novels in English since 1939. The list is typically idiosyncratic, and shows the breadth of Burgess's interest in fiction. This podcast, by the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, explores the novels on Burgess's list with the help of writers, critics and other special guests.In this episode, we’re donning our snap-brim fedoras and trench-coats to investigate The Long Good-bye by Raymond Chandler with our special guest biographer Tom Williams.The Long Good-bye is Raymond Chandler’s sixth novel, and features the further adventures of his most famous creation, private detective Philip Marlowe. After being contacted by his friend, Terry Lennox, Marlowe finds himself embroiled in the aftermath of the murder of Lennox’s wife, Sylvia. Seemingly an open-and-shut case, the mystery surrounding her death grows, and Marlowe traverses Los Angeles in search of answers from a range of oddballs and criminals.Raymond Chandler was born in Chicago in 1888 and grew up in Ireland and London. He worked as a civil servant and a journalist in London. In 1912 he returned to America. He introduced the world to Philip Marlowe in his 1939 novel The Big Sleep, and six further novels. He died in 1959.Tom Williams is a biographer and writer. He was born in Newcastle and read English at University College in London. He has worked in publishing and publishing technology and, in 2012, wrote A Mysterious Something in the Light: A Biography of Raymond Chandler. He currently lives in Washington DC.-----BOOKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODEBy Raymond Chandler:The Big Sleep (1939)Farewell My Lovely (1940)Playback (1958)Poodle Springs (with Robert B. Parker, 1989)Philip Marlowe Novels:The Black-Eyed Blonde by Benjamin Black/John Banville (2014)Only to Sleep by Lawrence Osborne (2018)The Goodbye Coast by Joe Ide (2022) By others:The Perry Mason Series by Erle Stanley Gardner (1933-73)Finnegans Wake by James Joyce (1939)The Heat of the Day by Elizabeth Bowen (1949)Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)Collected Poems by TS Elliot (1963)Cocksure by Mordecai Richler (1968)Bomber by Len Deighton (1970)Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (1981)The Inspector Rebus Series by Ian Rankin (1987-2022)Black and Blue by Ian Rankin (1997)Christine Falls by Benjamin Black/John Banville (2006)The Slough House/Jackson Lamb Series by Mick Herron (2010-22)The Cormoran Strike Series by Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling (2013-22)-----LINKSA Mysterious Something in the Light: Raymond Chandler, A Life by Tom Williams (affiliate link)Tom Williams on Twitter and InstagramInternational Anthony Burgess FoundationThe theme music is Anthony Burgess’s Concerto for Flute, Strings and Piano in D Minor, and is performed by No Dice Collective