An Elegy for X

An Elegy for X

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Introducing a series of Occasional Essays and Poems by Anthony Burgess selected by Andrew Biswell, Director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation. Each of the uniform series will have a contextual introduction, and in this first book that is by Dr Graham Foster, archivist at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester.

Originally published in 1991 as part of an alphabet book commissioned by David Hockney and Stephen Spender to raise money for Aids Crisis Trust, Burgess's Elegy for X combines his vast knowledge of languages and culture, his amusement in unusual vocabulary, and his playful wit.  

Contributors to Hockney's alphabet included Margaret Drabble, Iris Murdoch, Gore Vidal, William Boyd, and Erica Jong. Five Nobel Laureates: T.S. Eliot, Seamus Heaney, William Golding and Kazuo Ishiguro also participated.

This project was one of many artistic collaborations that Burgess enjoyed throughout his career. It serves to underline that his engagement with the work of his contemporaries extended far beyond book reviewing. He was an active participant in the cultural landscape of the twentieth century. 

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An Elegy for X is set in 14 and 16 point Baskerville, the title page in Weiss roman. Stephen Raw designed the calligraphic author's name that is used for both the series title and the title page. The linocut portrait of Burgess that forms the half-title is by John Watson. The book is printed on Zerkall mould-made paper and sewn into printed card covers for the paperbacks. The hardbacks are cased in black paper over boards, with a black cloth spine. The display titling is silver ink.