From: Christianity and Literature Vol.
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd. He was an unpleasant man.
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Wodehouse, interview W. Somerset Maugham appears in thin disguise as Kenneth Marchal Toomey in Anthony Burgess's Earthly Powersthe supposed memoirs of a literary lion who derides himself as an "indifferent and overrewarded scribbler" Although Maugham was not particularly religious and certainly not Roman Catholic, Burgess gives his protagonist a strong Catholic background.
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Toomey says that he was born into the faith but, "not able to believe"proposes to die out of it. Meanwhile he has a friend who becomes the Pope.
In fact, the book begins with Toomey's being asked to help make the dead Pope a saint. The way in which religion shapes the principal character and the literature he produces in Burgess's satiric masterpiece is file main more info of this essay.
Using only his middle names, John Anthony Burgess Wilson wrote more than 60 books, including television and film scripts as well as his own memoirs Little Wilson and Big God  and You've Had Your Time .
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Earthly Powers is a title that betrays Burgess's constant preoccupation with word play. In Earthly Powers Burgess's lifelong interests in music he was a talented composer, an erudite music critic, and the author of a novel about Ludwig Beethoven, Napoleon Symphonyin the works of James Joyce he wrote an excellent introduction to that difficult authorand in religion he stunned us in with The Kingdom of the Wicked, which is nothing less than a retelling of the Acts of the Apostles all appear in the satire of an octogenarian author looking back over his career and the literary society in which he achieved fame.
Burgess lets the subject of the satire indite and indict himself. All the while Burgess is engaged in what he said was his constant aim in literature: to clarify moral choice in dealing with life's problems.
Here and elsewhere he takes an Augustinian tack in recognizing our fallen human nature. We see the flawed character of the central character and the many shortcomings of his lifestyle as the rather nasty old man gives the raspberry, the finger, or the ax.
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Toomey is supposed to be as successful as Maugham, and he certainly is as curmudgeonly as Evelyn Waugh and as homosexual as Angus Wilson.