Burgess and sexual athleticism

In his review of Tremor of Intent, Tunis-based blogger Ian Smith nominates Anthony Burgess for a bad-sex award for this passage:

With athletic swiftness he turned her to the primal position and then, whinnying like a whole herd of wild horses, shivering as if transformed to protoplasm save for that plunging sword, he released lava like a mountain in a single thrust of destruction, so that she screamed like a burning city.

There is ‘athletic swiftness’ also in Earthly Powers:

And now, as so often happened, my brain in a fever took over the datum of the dream and enriched and expanded it. Norman Douglas spoke pedantically on behalf of the buggers. ‘We have this right, you see, to shove it up. On a road to Capri I found a postman who had fallen off his bicycle, you see, unconscious, somewhat concussed. He lay in exactly the right position. I buggered him with athletic swiftness: he would come to and feel none the worse.’ The Home Secretary nodded sympathetically while the rain wept on to him in Old Palace Yard. ‘I mean, minors. I mean, there’d be little in it for us if you restricted the act to consenting males over, say, eighteen. Boys are so pliable, so exquisitely sodomizable. You do see that, don’t you, old man?’ The Home Secretary nodded as if to say: Of course, old public-school man myself, old boy. I saw a lot of known faces, Pearson, Tyrwit, Lewis, Charlton, James, all most reasonable, claiming the legal right to maul and suck and bugger. I put myself in the gathering and said, also most reasonable, that it was nothing to do with the law: you were still left with the ethics and theology of the thing. What we had a right to desire was love, and nothing hindered that right. Oh nonsense, he’s such a bore. As for theology, isn’t there that apocryphal book of the Bible in which heterosexuality is represented as the primal curse?

Smith is very good on Burgess and Greene:

[Burgess] was [a] self-publicist in an era when it was…considered…form for British writers to be read and not heard, and rarely did he seem to be absent from the newspapers and television.  A disdainful Graham Greene was known to have marveled of him: ‘He talks about his books.’

He talks about his books. The vulgarity of it.

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