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The Devil Prefers Mozart
On Music and Musicians, 1962-1993
Edited by Paul Phillips
Categories: 20th Century, British
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (578 pages)
(Due Jan 2024)
The Devil Prefers Mozart is the first comprehensive collection of Anthony Burgess's writings about music. In this extensive compilation of essays and reviews, he covers a vast range of musical topics, from the hurdy-gurdy to Beatlemania and the Sex Pistols, with Burgess's love of English music represented by writings on Elgar, Holst, and Delius. There are essays on Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Berlioz and Wagner and other great composers from Monteverdi to Weill, as well as writings about Burgess's favourite performers, including Yehudi Menuhin, Larry Adler and John Sebastian. Whether whimsical ('Food and Music'), satirical ('Anybody Can Conduct') or controversial ('Why Punk Had to End in Evil'), Burgess's writing is consistently informative and entertaining.
The music of Debussy sparked Burgess's musical imagination so powerfully when he was a boy in Manchester that he composed his first symphony at eighteen years of age and aspired to a career as a professional composer until his mid-thirties. Writings about his own music provides valuable information about many of Burgess's compositions, including his Symphony in C, his works for guitar quartet, and his opera Blooms of Dublin based on Joyce's Ulysses.
Carcanet also publishes The Ink Trade, a companion volume of literary essays.
Praise for Anthony Burgess 'This will doubtless be the definitive volume of Burgess's poetry for some time'
Rob Spence, Shiny New Books
'In scale and personality there is plenty of Burgess here: the philosophical musing, the encyclopedic obscurity, the wilful and occasionally jagged use of language... The reader will gain no particularly new insight into the feelings of the writer, but they will find the ideas which drove much of his fiction distilled, distorted and put to play... his Collected Poems demonstrate to the reader that poetry, with its linguistic freedom and its inherent allusiveness, was always at the heart of his output'
Simon Rennie, Times Literary Supplement
'Reading Burgess is pleasant, suggestive and fun.'
Rafa Latorre, El Mundo
'Reading the entertaining collection is like popping into a pub to spend an hour with an erudite, garrulous polymath. When you resurface, blinking towards the light, you look at things a little differently.'
N. J. McGarrigle, The Irish Times
'Offering the wisdom, sense of discovery and thrill of a dozen fine novels, can be read as a practical handbook of reading, writing and reviewing, as a compendium of shrewd maxims and epigrammatic wit, and as a defence of the business of writing alongside a gently ironic lament to a writer's plight in the age of mass media and marketing. For those with a deeper interest in Burgess's bountiful output, it is also a vital source for his theories of literature and language, and how these animate his work.'
James Hopkin, NewStatesman
'One of the things that The Ink Trade shows is that Burgess, whose main fault as a reviewer was excessive compassion for his fellow authors, can still serve as a model for beginners and old hacks alike.'
Kevin Jackson, Literary Review
'A commitment to the value of writing and literature comes across with vigour and rigour in "The Ink Trade".'
Sean Sheehan, The Prisma
'The writings cover a range of subjects, including Metropolis, Fritz Lang's classic 1927 film, and fellow writers Ernest Hemingway and JB Priestley. They also include an unpublished 1991 lecture on censorship.... The essays span Burgess's journalistic career, including the Yorkshire Post, from which he was sacked after reviewing one of his own books - Inside Mister Enderby... The review, dated 1963, is included in The Ink Trade.'
Dalya Alberge, The Guardian
'Carr has achieved a heroic feat in the editing of this book. From the vast mountain of Burgess' non-fiction writing he has curated a selection that is intensely readable, pleasantly eclectic, and balances the published and the unpublished in such a way that those who have read all of Burgess' previous collections will enjoy this book as much as the newcomer.'
Joe Darlington, The Manchester Review of Books
'Language is definitely of top concern in these articles. He believed that language and wordplay should be of top concern to anyone... Burgess tried to adopt the role of valiant, though uncompromising, protector and defender of great literature.'
Blair James, The Manchester Review of Books
A 'Book to Look Out For in 2018' in Herald Scotland
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