British author, composer, pianist translator, screenwriter, who would be 100 this weekend.
Amongst Burgess’s many brilliant and often prescient novels is A Clockwork Orange: dystopian fiction dealing with conflict between the individual and the state, the punishment of young criminals, and the possibility or otherwise of redemption.
“One of the more unusual examples of this influence was the novel’s appropriation by the espionage community. During the 1970s, the title supposedly became the codename for an alleged campaign to undermine the prime minister, Harold Wilson. Prompted, apparently, by fears that Wilson was a Soviet agent and that he’d been placed in office after the KGB had poisoned the previous Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell.”
BBC Radio 3 doing a lot about Burgess over the next week, including programmes on his musical influences, his range of talents, attitudes to populism and class, etc.
Q. What might he have done with a letter of congratulations from the Queen?