Wide World of Quotes > Anthony Burgess Quotes


Anthony Burgess
English novelist and critic
(1917-93)



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Who ever heard of a clockwork orange? Then I read a malensky bit out loud in a sort of very high type preaching goloss: ' The attempt to impose upon man, a creature of growth and capable of sweetness, to ooze juicily at last round the bearded lips of God, to attempt to impose, I say, laws and conditions appropriate to a mechanical creation, against this I raise my sword-pen.'
-- A Clockwork Orange (1962)

He said it was artificial respiration, but now I find I am to have his child.
-- Inside Mr Enderby (1963), pt. 1, ch. 4

Pax Romana. Where they made a desolation they called it a peace. What absolute nonsense! It was a nasty, vulgar sort of civilization, only dignified by being hidden under a lot of declensions.
-- Inside Mr Enderby (1963), pt. 2, ch. 2

The possession of a book becomes a substitute for reading it.
-- New York Times, 4 December 1966

Do they merit vitriol, even a drop of it? Yes, because they corrupt the young, persuading them that the mature world, which produced Beethoven and Schweitzer, sets an even higher value on the transient andodynes of youth than does youth itself... They are the Holloww Men. They are electronic lice.
-- Speaking of disc jockeys, in: Punch (London), 20 September 1967

Death comes along like a gas bill one can't pay -- and that's all one can say about it.
-- Interview, Playboy, 1974

The US presidency is a Tudor monarchy plus telephones.
-- Quoted in: George Plimpton, ed., Writers at Work (4th Series, 1977)

It was the afternoon of my eight-first birthday, and I was lying in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me.
-- Earthly Powers (1980), opening lines

Reality is what I see, not what you see.
-- Sunday Times Magazine, 18 December 1983

Without class differences, England would cease to be the living theatre it is.
-- The Observer (London), 26 May 1985, 'Sayings of the Week'

If Freud had worn a kilt in the prescribed Highland manner he might have had a very different attitude to genitals.
-- The Observer (London), 24 August 1986

I could see now that a literary education did not fit one for the popular novelist's trade. Once you had started using words like flavicomous or acroamatic, because you liked the sound of them, you were lost.
-- You've Had Your Time (1990), ch. 1


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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