Anthony Burgess: Earthly Powers

(3224 words)
  • Rob Spence (Edge Hill University)

Earthly Powers was published in 1980, and marked a new stage in Burgess’s work. His major novels of the 1970s had been characterised by experimentation: from MF to Napoleon Symphony to Abba Abba, the impulse throughout the decade had been towards relatively brief novels with complex structures, often based on external sources: in MF, the work of Lévi-Strauss on Native American myth; in Napoleon Symphony on Beethoven’s Eroica symphony; and on an imagined meeting between Keats and Belli in Abba Abba. These novels were the most obviously experimental of this phase of Burgess’s career, and they contrast sharply with the relatively conventional E…

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Spence, Rob. "Earthly Powers". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2007
[, accessed 06 July 2015.]