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This article is taken from PN Review 227, Volume 42 Number 3, January - February 2016.

From the Burgess Archive (03)

A sculpture by Milton Hebald
Andrew Biswell
Photograph © International Anthony Burgess Foundation

Photograph © International Anthony Burgess Foundation

This terracotta bust of Anthony Burgess was completed by the American artist Milton Hebald on 15 August 1970. It appears on the dust jackets of Burgess’s two volumes of autobiography, Little Wilson and Big God (1987) and You’ve Had Your Time (1990), and for many years it stood alongside a Steinway piano in his house at Bracciano in Italy. The head appears fleetingly on screen in Make It New, a film about James Joyce and Igor Stravinsky presented by Burgess and broadcast on Swedish television in 1982. In the same year Burgess published a novel, The End of the World News, in which a fictional sculpture by Hebald is glimpsed in an elegant New York apartment.

Liana Burgess first met Milton Hebald when he had a fellowship at the American Academy in Rome in the mid-1950s. At this time she was married to her first husband, a translator called Benjamin Johnson. Liana resumed her friendship with Hebald when she and Burgess moved to Rome from Malta in 1970, and they became neighbours soon afterwards when the Burgesses bought a house in Bracciano, a medieval town on the shores of a volcanic lake, about an hour north of Rome by train.

Hebald set down his recollections of Burgess in an unpublished memoir: ‘Burgess kept the conversation going over clouds of cigar smoke and glasses of Spumante. He had such a diversity of projects to do: a novel, a musical comedy on ...

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