7.6/101 Votes Alchetron
Originally published 1964
Genre Speculative fiction
|Similar Anthony Burgess books, William Shakespeare books, Speculative fiction books|
Nothing Like the Sun is a fictional biography of William Shakespeare by Anthony Burgess first published in 1964. The novel concerns alleged relationships of Shakespeare from his perspective, including one with the notorious Elizabethan prostitute, Lucy Negro.
Burgess recounted in his Foreword added to later editions that the novel was a project of his for many years, but the process of writing accelerated so that publishing would coincide with the quatercentenary of Shakespeare's birth, on April 23, 1964. Though often disregarded by reviewers, Burgess detailed in the Foreword that the novel does have a frame story in which a professor of a Malaysian college named "Mr. Burgess" delivers his final lecture on the life of Shakespeare before returning to the United Kingdom while progressively becoming more drunk on rice wine and gradually less inhibited as the lecture progresses.The "lecture" begins with "Mr. Burgess" reading Sonnet 147, to which he will eventually reference as proof of Shakespeare contracting syphilis, proposing that his Dark Lady's name is spelled in acrostic in the poem, the letters F T M H being a latinization of the Arabic name "Fatjmah", meaning "destiny".
The novel also includes a plot of Shakespeare becoming cuckolded by his younger brother Richard, who had stayed in Stratford, a thesis Burgess first encountered in literature in the Scylla and Charybdis episode of James Joyce's Ulysses.
The novel's title refers to the first line of Sonnet 130: "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun."
Burgess uses a style which owes something to both Elizabethan English and Joycean wordplay.
It ranks among Harold Bloom's favourite Burgess novels. He noted it in his book, The Western Canon, as the most effective biography of Shakespeare, and proposed it as a canonical work in that book's appendices.