Beard's Roman Women

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Beard's Roman Women
Author Anthony Burgess
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Novel
Publisher Hutchinson
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 155 pp (hardback edition)
ISBN 0-09-128400-7 (hardback edition)
OCLC 16364951

Beard's Roman Women is a 1976 novel by British novelist Anthony Burgess.

Dated "Montalbuccio-Monte Carlo-Eze-Callian, Summer 1975", according to Burgess it was written in the back of his Bedford Dormobile as he and his wife, Liana Burgess toured Europe and "partly in the bedroom of a small hotel run by Swiss homosexuals" (You've Had Your Time).

The novel is set in Rome and is apparently based on Burgess's experience of being widowed in the mid-1960s. Burgess's wife, Liana, is depicted as Paola Lucrezia Belli in the novel.[1]

Photographs in the original edition were by David Robinson.

Plot introduction[edit]

Ronald Beard jets off to Hollywood and meets Paola Lucrezia Belli, an Italian photographer and descendant of the Roman dialect poet Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli. Various comic adventures ensue as the narrative switches to the Eternal City.

The book is an interesting companion piece to Burgess's next novel, Abba Abba (1977): the Roman setting (some 150 years apart), references to the poet Belli, and the focus on the Romantic poets. In Abba Abba John Keats is the main character; here it's Byron and Shelley as the subject of a screenplay by the main character.


  • Ronald Beard
  • Paola Lucrezia Belli – an Italian photographer
  • Greg Gregson – old Friend of Ronald Beard
  • Leonora Beard – deceased wife of Ronald Beard
  • P.R.Pathan – famous writer and husband of Paola Lucrezia Belli
  • John Keats – the poet
  • Byron – the poet
  • Shelley – the writer


  1. ^ "Obituary: Liana Burgess". The Daily Telegraph. 5 December 2007. Retrieved 30 April 2015.