"He started writing fiction during his Malayan years'as sort of a gentlemanly hobby, because I knew there wasn't any money in it.'" (Halio 160)Little did Anthony Burgess know that he would go on to write over 60 books and become one of the most prolific British authors of the 20th century.He was born on February 25, 1917, to a very strict Catholic family.His mother and sister died soon after, leaving him to be cared for by his father, aunt, and later his stepmother.Many different people, events, and locales have influenced his writing.The most influential, however, were his Catholic upbringing, his travels to Malaya, and his wife.
The most pervasive influence on Burgess was his Catholic heritage."Abundantly reflected in Burgess's fiction is his Roman Catholic background, which is part of an ancient regional and family heritage." (Halio 160)Many of his ancestors were involved in the struggles between Catholics and Protestants in the Renaissance; one of them, who, ironically, had the same birth name, was martyred during Elizabeth I's reign. (Halio, 160) He went to Catholic schools throughout his childhood, and upon graduating from high school, wanted to become a musician, studying at Manchester University.Although he worked hard, only a failed physics exam kept him out of their music program.He then decided to focus on English composition and language instead.(Dix 185)"His education at the parochial Xaverian College instilled an interest in theological themes of good and evil, free will, and social authority which appeared in much of his writings years later." (Biographical 1)Many of his books focus on Xaverian College and these themes. In Tremor of Intent, he discusses the effects of harsh Catholic doctrines on the young, impressionable minds of schoolchildren.(Dix 185)
Another main influence on Burgess's writings was his trip …