Dismember the past

Gregory, S 2019, Dismember the past , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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This thesis is a creative literary biography, or historiographic metafiction, of the life and works of writer and composer Anthony Burgess (1917-1993). The text consists of two synchronous narratives: a fictionalised account of Burgess’ life as a writer, charting his time as a struggling would-be composer in 1940s Britain through to his celebrity as a writer in 1970s America; and an academic exploration of literary biography, historiographic metafiction, the spill between these two genres, and Burgess’ engagements with these forms, through the lens of Bakhtinian literary theory. These narratives run concurrently, interrupting, informing and influencing the other, in dialogic engagement.

This text synthesises academic and biographical research with speculative fiction, much like Burgess’ own works of historiographic metafiction, including Nothing Like the Sun (1964), which shares a similar fiction/academic lecture form: Abba Abba (1977); and A Dead Man in Deptford (1993). The thesis also seeks to respond to Burgess’ Confessions – Little Wilson and Big God (1986) and You’ve Had Your Time (1990), and other writers’ biographies published after his death – Roger Lewis’s Anthony Burgess (2002) and Andrew Biswell’s The Real Life Anthony Burgess (2005). Burgess’ life as a husband, son and father is dramatised, alongside his prodigious output as a writer of over thirty novels.

In his critical text, Shakespeare (1970), which came six years after his creative biography of the Bard, Burgess claimed that ‘every Shakespeare-lover who has ever lived’ has the right ‘to paint his own portrait of the man’. In this manner, this thesis presents not a ‘definitive’ Anthony Burgess but a ‘possible’ or ‘partial’ Burgess, in dialogue with the many other ‘Burgesses’ already in existence and those that may follow.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Kendall, J (Supervisor) and Hurley, UK (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Depositing User: Sean Gregory
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2019 14:41
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 21:24
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/51269

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