The Worm and the Ring
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It is Burgess's version of the Ring Cycle. The Dragon pub in the novel corresponds to the worm and a purloined diary to the ring.
(Wagnerian equivalents in brackets)
- Woolton, the school principal (Wotan)
- Frederica, Woolton's wife (Fricka)
- Lodge (Loge)
- Albert Rich, a student at the school (Alberich)
- three female students (the Rhinemaidens)
- Linda (Woglinde, one of the Rhinemaidens)
The novel was withdrawn from circulation following a libel action by Gwendoline Bustin, the secretary of Banbury Grammar School where Burgess taught in the early fifties. Several characters were recognisable as figures from the school, but only Miss Burstin, later Lady Mayoress of Banbury, objected. Heinemann agreed to "amend all unsold copies of the book" (The Times, October 25, 1962) but actually pulped them.
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