You've Had Your Time You’ve Had Your Time

Anthony Burgess

You’ve Had Your Time

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In 1959, Anthony Burgess was diagnosed as having a brain tumor which would kill him within a year. Prior to becoming Anthony Burgess, author, he was John Anthony Burgess Wilson, British education officer. He had been stationed in Malaya (where he had written several novels) before he and his wife, Lynne, returned to England, only to find out that he had little time left to live. Burgess did not want to leave his alcoholic wife destitute; writing novels as fast as he could would be his solution. His wife refused to read any of the books that he completed. Through sheer will power, Burgess made himself into a full-time writer. He did not shrink from the task, and the medical diagnosis turned out to be completely wrong.

In YOU’VE HAD YOUR TIME, Burgess presents the frantic pace at which he led his life. Ever-troubled by his wife’s drinking and promiscuity, he plunged into project after project. Burgess describes the nonglamorous routine necessary for a working writer. His early books brought little success, but he continued to push himself in a variety of writing endeavors, including reviews, translations, and critical works concerning James Joyce. He is probably best known for his novel A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1962) because of the 1971 film version directed by Stanley Kubrick. Lynne finally died in 1968 of cirrhosis. Burgess was a shattered man.

Nearly bankrupt after his wife’s death, Burgess pushed forward as best he could. Not long after, a...

(The entire section is 456 words.)