>

2005/09/24

Poets and Poetry in the Enderby Cycle

_It is interesting to think about a fictional poet like Enderby and a poet like Artaud. Both spend time in the madhouses of their time and both are revolting against tyranny of one kind or another ____ Artaud and Endery the poet __


_ Excerpts from an online essay by
Enderby's profession, while he lived, and even at the time of his temporary or illusory death, was poetry. He was a professional poet and could do nothing that did not fit in with his vocation: write poetry, read, be interviewed, at a pinch do a little teaching and/or collaborate in the production of a play, or a film, or a television programme, or a musical, as long as the work was to be based on a poetical achievement of some kind.


Poets and Poetry in the Enderby Cycle
by Sylvère Monod




In 1980 I had published a study of Mr Enderby, one of Anthony Burgess's favourite characters. As Mr Enderby was both impressive and mean, I had called my article, in French, "Enderby, le minable magnifique". This appeared in the fifth issue of TREMA, a short-lived and obscure scholarly journal published by the English Department of my own University, Paris-III Sorbonne Nouvelle Note 1. Our N° 5, though not so heady and successful as Chanel's, had its own glamour, since it was entirely devoted to one unquestionably brilliant and entertaining writer. It was an Anthony Burgess special issue. I based my study on what I took to be the complete Enderby cycle of three shortish novels, Inside Mr Enderby, Enderby Outside, and The Clockwork Testament, or, Enderby's End. I still regard myself as having been at the time justified in thinking the cycle was complete, since the word End appeared in the title of its third part, in which poor Mr Enderby was actually seen to die. I therefore expressed my convicton that there would be, that indeed there could be no more Enderby stories. Dead men, even fictitious ones, notoriously tell no tales. Nor do they lend themselves to being told new tales about. I could not have been more wrong. A fourth Enderby novel, Enderby's Dark Lady, annihilated the hero's death at the end of the third, the author blandly explaining that his Clockwork Testament had been only one branch of a "forked ending", the unreal term of the alternative, of which he now gave us the other and truer one. Enderby's survival in the Dark Lady volume was so vigorous that Burgess left himself plenty of room for adding a fifth, then a sixth part, and so on, in fact, any number of sequels, had he lived long enough to write them. We can trust his fertile inventiveness: had he lived, he would never have fallen short of adventures for Enderby. But talented writers are not like fictional figures,; they cannot, alas, be resurrected at will. Burgess has died, and taken Enderby with him to a final grave this time.



etcetera etctera _ do follow the links for remainder of this essay.


anthony burgess


and now for a taste of Burgess' writing itself__

the clockwork testament, or: enderby's end

"'But,' she said, 'we'll make sure, won't we? Go over there and turn on the TV. Turn it on loud. Keep going round the dial till I tell you to stop.' Enderby moved with nonchalance, but only to sit down on a pouffe. Much much better. He said, with nonchalance:
'You do it. Play Russian roulette with it. That's Nabokov,' he said in haste, 'not me. Pale Fire,' he clarified.
'Bastard,' she said. But she got up and walked towards him, pointing her little gun. It was a nice little weapon from the look of it. She had delightful legs, Enderby saw regretfully, and seemed to be wearing stockings, not those panty-hose abominations. Suspenders, what they called garters here, and there knickers. He was surprised to find himself, under the thick hot Edwardian trousers, responding solidly to the very terms. Camiknicks. Beyond his pouffe, she moved sidelong to the television set. She then switched on and turned the dial click click click with her left hand, looking towards Enderby and pointing her weapon."




outside mr. enderby



"Tonight she was not going to have greasy stew and pickled onions and stepmother´s tea. She read the menu intently, as though it contained a Nabokovian cryptogram, and ordered a young hare of the kind called a capuchin, marinated in marc..."




 and    last but not least
 * Burgess was dismissed as literary critic for the Yorkshire Post after he wrote a review of his own Inside Mr. Enderby and it appeared in the newspaper. The novel had been published under the pseudonym Joseph Kell, and the newspaper’s editor did not know that Kell was Burgess. Burgess protested, to no avail, that Walter Scott had also once reviewed one of his own novels. The offending review, which was not exactly commendatory, read in part: “This is, in many ways, a dirty book. It is full of bowel-blasts and flatulent borborygms, emetic meals…and halitosis. It may well make some people sick….It turns sex, religion, the State into a series of laughing-stocks. The book itself is a laughing-stock.”

as  quoted by Geoffrey Grigson at the blog, In Search of Anthony Burgess.


let me add this statement : thank god for Anthony Burgess having lived on this earth  ~>



                         '