Anthony Burgess and God, faith and evil, language and the ludic in the novels of a manichaean wordboy
Torchia, Darryl Anthony
In this thesis, a detailed study of religious and ethical themes in selected novels by the late British writer, Anthony Burgess, will be undertaken. I will demonstrate that his work contains a consistent ethical worldview, manifested both in the situations of crisis his protagonists face, and in his attitude towards the responsibility and duty of the professional writer. His emphasis on the importance of compassion, responsibility and humor in a world of moral dualism will be shown to be consistently present in a broad range of fictional genres and literary styles, ranging from dystopian speculative fiction to biographical novels. The thesis will be organized thematically to reflect his novels about four separate areas of concern: individual responses to human suffering, personal autonomy in the face of coercive institutions, the role of the artist in society, and the problem of faith in postconciliar Roman Catholicism. A diverse range of critics, in keeping with these various themes, will be consulted in order to give increased depth and relevance to this study. It is hoped that the conclusion will demonstrate that Burgess's work presents a coherent and consistent philosophy of moral decision making.