2015年3月29日星期日

A Clockwork outrage: Leading literary figures blast 'pathetic' decision by English Heritage to refuse blue plaque for Anthony Burgess because he is not 'significant' enough



  • English Heritage blasted for refusal to grant Anthony Burgess blue plaque

  • Leading literary figures described the organisation's decision as 'pathetic'

  • Burgess wrote the modern classic A Clockwork Orange and 32 other books

  • The novel was made into a controversial film by director Stanley Kubrick





As the author of the modern classic A Clockwork Orange and a famously outspoken cultural pundit, he is one of the greatest names of post-war British literature.


Yet Anthony Burgess has been refused a commemorative blue plaque by English Heritage because, it claims, his significance and profile are 'not strong enough' for recognition.


Now the snub has been criticised by leading figures in the literary world, who insist that the author is one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century.



Leading literary figures described Anthony Burgess (pictured) being snubbed for a blue plaque as 'pathetic'


Leading literary figures described Anthony Burgess (pictured) being snubbed for a blue plaque as 'pathetic'




Malcolm McDowell starred at the lead character Alex (pictured) in Stanley Kubrick's controversial adaptation of A Clockwork Orange


Malcolm McDowell starred at the lead character Alex (pictured) in Stanley Kubrick's controversial adaptation of A Clockwork Orange



Last night Burgess's biographer Roger Lewis called the decision 'pretty pathetic'.


And bestselling author David Lodge, who was a friend of Burgess, said: 'Anthony was a remarkable man. He was a polymath who was extraordinarily gifted in many areas.'


Burgess was nominated for a blue plaque – which are erected on buildings to recognise where famous people lived and worked – by staff at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester.


They wanted it placed on a property in Glebe Street, Chiswick, West London, where the author lived between 1963 and 1968.


They were confident of success as Burgess met all the criteria for the scheme – which is funded by public donations – including the stipulation that candidates must be well known and must have been dead for at least 20 years.



Burgess wrote 33 novels but is best known for his 1962 dystopian work A Clockwork Orange


Burgess wrote 33 novels but is best known for his 1962 dystopian work A Clockwork Orange



But on December 2 last year, English Heritage wrote to confirm the author had not been shortlisted, adding: 'The [blue plaques] panel noted his many achievements but… they felt his overall significance and profile were not yet strong enough to make a case for a blue plaque.'


Documents obtained by this newspaper under freedom of information laws show the panel made its decision at a meeting on October 29.


The minutes state: 'The panel agreed that Anthony Burgess was a prolific and energetic writer, but that it was too soon after his death to evaluate the merits of shortlisting.'


However, members did agree that his name could be submitted for consideration again in five years rather than the usual ten.


Burgess, who died in 1993, wrote 33 novels but is best known for his 1962 dystopian work A Clockwork Orange, which was turned into a controversial film by director Stanley Kubrick, with Malcolm McDowell in the leading role.


Professor Andrew Biswell, who is based at the Anthony Burgess Foundation, said he hoped the panel would reconsider in light of activities planned for 2017 to mark the centenary of Burgess's birth.


English Heritage confirmed a proposal to commemorate the author had been considered last October.


'The panel agreed that it was too soon after his death to arrive at a definitive assessment of his lasting reputation,' a spokesman added.











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