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Little Wilson And Big God - The First Part Of The Confessions Hardcover – January 1, 1991


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Hardcover, January 1, 1991
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 461 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Weidenfeld/Evergreen (1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802132405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802132406
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,683,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anthony Burgess (25th February 1917-22nd November 1993) was one of the UK's leading academics and most respected literary figures. A prolific author, during his writing career Burgess found success as a novelist, critic, composer, playwright, screenwriter, travel writer, essayist, poet and librettist, as well as working as a translator, broadcaster, linguist and educationalist. His fiction also includes NOTHING LIKE THE SUN, a recreation of Shakespeare's love-life, but he is perhaps most famous for the complex and controversial novel A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, exploring the nature of evil. Born in Manchester, he spent time living in Southeast Asia, the USA and Mediterranean Europe as well as in England, until his death in 1993.

Customer Reviews

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Anthony Burgess, the great linguistic writer of the 20th century, has succeeded in publishing something quite out of the ordinary-- he has written an autobiography actually worth reading. With most autobiographies, the authors tend to center on themselves, writing with the condescending bathos that only exists when one is talking of oneself. Burgess, on the other, hand, establishes his literary hubris early on, yet it never becomes condescending nor immitigably self-centered. He writes as one who realises both his genius as well as his shortcomings. The former he shows in his erodite vocabulary, his obscure puns, and his awe-inspiring knowledge of etymology; the latter is shown in his failure in school, his impersonal and inadequate personality, his extreme shortcomings as a husband, and his extessentialist-like apathy regarding death.
What ultimately sets him apart from other autobiographers, as mentioned earlier, is that he seems to center on others moreso than himself; in "Little Wilson and Big God, the tumultuous 20th century is viewed through a myriad of reference frames, all of which are given equal importance (even those, strangely enough, that would be seen to disagree with his opines).
Being a Burgess novel, one can expect to see highly established vocabulary; he frequently makes references to and puns in foreign languages, from Anglo-Saxon to ancient Gaelic. In one case, he tells of translating popular song into Latin. However, as opposed to his Clockwork Orange, he does not speak in some imagined colloquial dialect, and his excellent points are therefore not lost to the audience.
If someone is looking for an autobiography that can actually offer insight into the mind of a genius, look no further than this gem of a work.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. A. Hosek on April 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It's rare that I encounter a book in English that I need to read with a dictionary handy. Anthony Burgess' autobiography is the first book which has forced this in quite a while. The life itself was rather fascinating, covering primarily that portion of Burgess' life before he became a writer. This is the point in a writer's life which is interesting. After they settle into the task of actually writing, their lives tend to become dull as dirt.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sirin on June 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those total recall autobiographies that, in the wrong hands, can make for horrific reading. That is doesn't is testament to Burgess's richly intelligent prose and the remarkable course of his early life. Born into a poor Manchester family to a drunk father and a mother who died when he was an infant, Burgess scrapped his way up through poverty stricken Manchester aided by his genius like brain (when he admits to reading Don Quixote aged ten we begin to get the measure of things). At thirteen he decided to be a great composer in the modern style of Stravinsky or Schoenberg, several years and many autodidactical projects later he finds himself at Manchester University where he is the bane of lecturers with his own take on his English course. After that, he is drafted into action in World War II, a period of his life low on military action but high on farce. Back in Civvy Street, flatlining as a schoolteacher, he embarks on a new career as an educator in 'the Eton of the East' in Malaysia. And all the while he seems to be an effortless puller of women - domestic staff in Manchester in his teens, generous females in wartime, a first wife who practised free love (and was unfaithful with Dylan Thomas - apparently impotent) and some frisky Malays. All this before he has published his first novel: Burgess's prolific writing career is documented in the second part of his memoirs, 'You've Had Your Time'. Remarkable.
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