The Worm and the Ring by Anthony Burgess
. First edition. First impression from 1961. The book has heavy foxing to endpapers and lighter spotting throughout. No other markings, binding firm. The jacket has some chipping to tip and tail of spine and corner folds. Now in removable protective sleeve. Please see pictures. PayPal accepted, any questions please get in touch.
About The Worm and the Ring
The Worm and the Ring is remarkable, not so much for Anthony Burgess taking a crack at his former colleagues at Banbury Grammar School, but rather for his creativity in animating a school serving ‘drearily picturesque towns’. Burgess had already written about school-teaching in The Malayan Trilogy, but the birth of independent Malaysia, being a significant historical event, was easier material to work with. The school in this novel is based on the real-life school in Oxfordshire where Burgess worked in the early fifties, undoubtedly a place that clipped his wings somewhat.
Burgess presents a provincial England in 1951, the year of the Festival of Britain, that is timeless. The headmaster can’t work out if his mother is talking about the First or Second World War or indeed the Boer War, while the gloomy school environment suggests the struggle down the ages to control children and, if possible, educate them: ‘The uneasy atmosphere there, the bloody-mindedness, it was all epiphenomenon, a mere reflection of the rotting floorboards and carious walls.’ The staff of this dilapidated institution struggle against, or remain aloof from, the children as best they can. - Frank Beyer
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