The Worm and the Ring
Hard Cover. London: Heinemann, 1961. First Edition. Fine / Dust Jacket Included.
First edition, first printing. Publisher's maroon cloth, spine lettered in gilt; dust jacket with illustration by John Rowland. A fine copy with previous owner's bookplate to front pastedown; in an unclipped dust jacket with very slight toning to the spine, light soiling to the rear panel, and a tiny tear to the upper front panel. An excellent, and extremely bright near fine copy. The Worm and the Ring, published in 1961, is set in Banbury Grammar School, the dreary provincial school Anthony Burgess taught at in the early 1950s. The book is structured after Wagner’s opera Ring Cycle. The plot follows a teacher in an unhappy marriage, and a young girl’s stolen diary which contains depictions of erotic fantasies about the headmaster of the school. The book was pulled from the market shortly after its publication because of a libel lawsuit, making first edition copies very rare. The suit was brought by the school’s secretary, Gwendoline Bustin, who had been written into the book as an unmarried gossip who lusted for the headmaster. Bustin’s suit was successful, and the revised book was released in 1970.