World Stamps

Born Feb. 25: Anthony Burgess

Apr 28, 2021, 7 PM
Author Anthony Burgess is shown on preliminary artwork for a €1.30 stamp from Monaco to be issued Feb. 27, 2017. Burgess was born 100 years earlier, on Feb. 25, 1917.

By Michael Baadke

The Monaco stamp office announced recently that it will issue a €1.30 stamp Feb. 27 to honor Anthony Burgess, who was born 100 years ago in Manchester, England, on Feb. 25, 1917.

The stamp image shown here represents a preliminary design for the new issue; the finished stamp will include an engraved design, intaglio-printed in combination with an offset component.

“British writer, musician and linguist Anthony Burgess (1917-93) is best known as the author of A Clockwork Orange (1962), a science-fiction novel about youth violence set in a corrupt and cynical society of the future,” the stamp office noted. “It was brought to the big screen in 1971 by Stanley Kubrick.”

A prolific and versatile writer who often addressed historical themes, Burgess published “33 novels, 25 works of nonfiction, two volumes of autobiography, three symphonies, more than 250 other musical works, and thousands of essays, articles and reviews,” according to the International Anthony Burgess Foundation.

His earliest published novel was Time for a Tiger in 1956. The book’s setting is Malaysia, where Burgess had been employed as a teacher. Though significant fame came to him following the publication and film release of A Clockwork Orange, Burgess retained his popular following with later works including a fictional biography of William Shakespeare (Nothing Like the Sun), a modern reworking of the Excalibur legend (Any Old Iron), and a series of four comic novels featuring the fictional poet Francis Xavier Enderby.

He was co-author of Franco Zeffirelli’s 1977 television miniseries Jesus of Nazareth, and his novel Earthly Powers made the short list for the 1980 Man Booker prize.

With his second wife, Liana, Burgess moved to Monaco in 1975, where he was a co-founder of the Princess Grace Irish Library, which opened in 1984. He died Nov. 22, 1993, and his ashes rest at the Monaco cemetery.

Burgess was honored on a stamp once before, when A Clockwork Orange was the subject of an 800-lire stamp from San Marino, as part of a set of 16 honoring science fiction (Scott 1429l). On the stamp, the author’s name appears above the book title, which is rendered in Italian as Arancia Meccanica.