Disgusted of Portland, OR

Reader Mollie Clarke writes to the editor of the New York Times to express her dismay at Anthony Burgess’s use of the word ‘perversion’ in relation to the sexuality of E.M. Forster.

Ms Clarke is also ‘disgusted’ by Burgess’s remark that

it would have done [Virginia Woolf] good to be seduced in a Manchester back alley.

I’m sorry to have to tell Ms Clarke that it gets worse. Burgess makes this confession in Little Wilson and Big God, Being the First Part of the Confessions of Anthony Burgess:

I had sexual encounters with Tamil women blacker than Africans, including a girl who could not have been older than twelve.

Of course, chunks of Burgess’s autobiography are pure invention, and the confession above probably falls into that category. All the same, I don’t think I can be accused of puritanical censoriousness if I say that is not the less disturbing for all that.

The novelist-composer Anthony Burgess and friends

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