Part One:

Chapters 1-3

Chapters 4-7

Chapters 8-12

Part Two:

Chapters 1-3

Chapters 4-7

Chapters 8-13


Anthony Burgess's
          Honey for the Bears  

                              A running commentary by Liana Burgess






(1) By Alexander Pope. Mock-eroic poem published in 1712.


(2) Tiresias ("Father Tiresias"): Greek mythology. Tiresias was described as "half man, half woman".


(3) Opiskin. Read: Shostakovich.


(4) Ledi Makbet Mtsenskovo uyezda, 'The Lady Macbeth of the Mtsenk District' by Shostakovich was greeted with enthusiasm when performed at the Opera House in Leningrad in January 1934 and two years later at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. The performance was attended by Stalin and later famously denounced by the press (The Pravda) : "Chaos instead of music". A critic that ended the composer's operatic career. Some of the criticism was "deliberately discordant and confused stream of sounds...The music quacks, grunts and growls... inorder to express the amatory scenes as naturalistically as possible... Ledi Makbet... tickles the perverted tastes of the bourgeoisie."

Presently showing at the Opera Ireland.


(5) Italian zanni, a traditional masked clown. From Italian dialect, nickname for Giovanni, John. It belongs to La Commedia dell’Arte.


(6) In Russian Hermitage is written without H, with an initial , but Russians are reluctant to admit it in their constant fear of being mistaken for barbaric asiatic, since they know that the origin of the word is classical Greek. Maria, our tour conductor and a full professor in my trip last September, was clearly disoriented when asked by me about it to the point of lying. Anthony had many discussions about this claiming, quite rightly, that if the Russians wrote it with an H they would pronounce it Ghermitage, as they call Homer Gamir, Haydn Gaydn, Hemingway Gemingway.


(7) In italics in the text.


(8) About the eroticism of Anthony Burgess, it is interesting to notice that we never find ‘penetrative Eros’either in twosome, threesome or a roomful of people. Anthony is, more than reticent, endowed with what used to be called ‘Christian modesty’ (which is also, Muslim, Jewish Orthodox Fundamentalism and Hindu, be it said). The grosser form of the sexual act is, very effectively, either - and this is more often the case -, suggested by sequences of rhythmical images, as in Tremor of Intent when Miss Devi’s seduces Rupert Hillier in his ship cabine and her initial seduction followed by his response are evoked in a splendidly rythmical crescendo (I’ve heard him read the pages aloud during a lecture given in Oklahoma or Denver), or, funnily and matter-of-factly, in a foreign language, as when, in a case of rape brought by Malay assistant against a small Chinese shopkeeper, her employer, while the prosecution goes on about "had he done this and he done that, and had there been any attempt to, shall we say, force his attention on her, and had he perhaps been importunate in demanding her favours"… The interpreter, having listened very patiently, just asks the girl, ‘Sudah masok?’ and she replies, quick as a flash, ‘Sudah.’ (Where masok is ‘to come in’ and sudah the indication of the past tense. The Malayan Trilogy, page 211, London, Vintage, 2000)


(9) So that now, for the joy of Harold Bloom‘s (cfr. Alan Roughley’s Newsletter, A.B.’s Factification of Shakespeare’s Life and David Rosenberg and Harold Bloom’s The Book of J, New York 1990), we are going to witness "the song of perpetual human becoming and overcoming, the chant of dynamic Yahwism, the exuberance of being". (The Book of J, p. 321)



                                                              Honey for the Bears


















































                                                 The Anthony Burgess Center in Angers (France)