AB’s Dark Lady

Anthony Burgess has a chapter to Afterwords: Novelists on Their Novels (1969) entitled ‘Genesis and Headache’, in which he discusses in some detail the making of his Nothing Like the Sun: A Story of Shakespeare’s Love Life (1964). He writes:

…only Professor G.B. Harrison, I think, ever suggested that [the Dark Lady] might be Negroid. I wanted to write about…a woman far more exotic. I knew that in Shakespeare’s London there were brothels with Negresses in them (was there not a brothel-madam whom the law students called Lucy Negro?), but I wanted a dark woman who came from the East — a woman like one of the Malays or Achinese or Bugis I had been hotly attracted to during my time as a colonial civil servant. I knew nothing about black women but plenty about brown.

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