In 1992 Anthony Burgess wrote a proposal for an unwritten book, ‘Modernism and Modern Man’. Burgess died the following year, but the proposal document offers a detailed statement about his thinking on modernism, not simply as a historical movement but as a continuous artistic project which was not yet complete.
Drawing on Burgess’s fiction and critical works, this paper seeks to position him as a late modernist novelist who worked self-consciously in the tradition of James Joyce. His critical writing on Joyce provides a set of interventions through which he articulated an ongoing dialogue with the high modernism of the 1920s and 1930s. In this non-fiction work, Burgess comes closest to making his literary aesthetic clear.
Andrew Biswell is Professor of Modern Literature at Manchester Metropolitan University (UK) and Director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation.