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Americans will listen, but they do not care to read. War and Peace must wait for the leisure of retirement, which never really comes: meanwhile it helps to furnish the living room. Blockbusting fiction is bought as furniture. Unread, it maintains its value. Read, it looks like money wasted. Cunningly, Americans know that books contain a person, and they want the person, not the book.

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A bit about Anthony Burgess ...

Anthony Burgess (February 25, 1917 - November 22, 1993) was an English novelist and critic. He was also active as a composer, librettist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist, essayist, travel writer, broadcaster, translator and educationalist. Born John Burgess Wilson in Manchester, England, he lived and worked variously in Southeast Asia, the United States and Mediterranean Europe. His fiction includes the Malayan trilogy (The Long Day Wanes) on the dying days of Britain's empire in the East, the Enderby cycle of comic novels about a reclusive poet and his muse, the classic speculative recreation of Shakespeare's love-life Nothing Like the Sun, the cult exploration of the nature of evil A Clockwork Orange, and Earthly Powers, a panoramic Tolstoyan saga of the 20th century. He wrote critical studies of Joyce, Hemingway, Shakespeare and Lawrence, produced the treatises on linguistics Language Made Plain and A Mouthful of Air, and turned out large quantities of journalism in several languages. The translator and adapter of Cyrano de Bergerac, Oedipus the King and Carmen for the stage, he scripted Jesus of Nazareth and Moses the Lawgiver for the screen and composed the Sinfoni Melayu, the Symphony (No. 3) in C and the opera Blooms of Dublin.

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