Anthony Burgess ABC

Martin Amis, whose interview with Anthony Burgess in Monaco appeared in the London Observer newspaper in 1980, writes in the New York Times:

Burgess is not ‘a minor B novelist’, as he described himself; he is the only B novelist. I think he would have settled for that.

The sociologist Carl Bankston adds to the debate in the Moral Liberal:

Burgess was an A novelist and a B novelist at the same time. He was also, I think, a C novelist. In addition to a plot-character dimension and a linguistic dimension, works of fiction have a dimension of ideas….As Amis mentions, Burgess was an Augustinian Catholic. The problems of evil and of free will at the core of his work are theological issues and Burgess was a deeply theological writer. Linguistic brilliance is only one of the reasons A Clockwork Orange survives and probably not the most important reason. It is also a profound meditation on how a therapeutic society of rehabilitation that denies evil and denies will threatens the fundamental character of humanity.

Prof Bankston has an interesting history. Among other things, he spent an equal number of years living in Southeast Asia as did Burgess. His blog may be viewed here.

The novelist Martin Amis (left) and the sociologist Carl Bankston

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