Moses the Lawgiver, and Moses: A Narrative

Scope and Content

This series consists of drafts of Moses: A Narrative; a treatment and character list for the television series (Moses the Lawgiver); outlines for various episodes; drafts of the screenplay in English and Italian; music composed by Burgess for the series; and a photograph of Burt Lancaster (as Moses) with a camera crew in a film studio, presumably relating to the filming of the series.

For further related music score (by Burgess), see AB/ARCH/A/MUS/81: File of 6 music notebooks containing draft score for multiple works by Burgess.

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1970, Burgess was approached by the Italian producer, Vincenzo Labella, to write the film script for a television mini-series about Moses, titled Moses the Lawgiver, to be co-produced by Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI) and Lew Grade. Burt Lancaster would star as Moses, with Anthony Quayle portraying Aaron. In autumn 1972, Burgess began work on a verse novel, later published as Moses: A Narrative, from which he fashioned scripts for the six hour-long episodes of Moses the Lawgiver, finishing them in Rome the following summer. Upon completing the script, Burgess composed a score for the miniseries. Burgess's Moses score was, however, unsolicited by Labella and it was rejected in favour of a score by Ennio Morricone.

The mini-series was first broadcast in Italy in 1974.


Burgess's original arrangement of these records (if any existed) had been disrupted over time, which had resulted in various different drafts of the screenplay and episode outlines becoming intermingled. While cataloguing records within this series, an attempt has been made to restore the original order by identifying similarities in paper and typeface. Where such similarities exist, records have been grouped together. Where possible, a cross-reference to "earlier" or "later" drafts has been given in the Description field, but such references are suggestions only: more detailed research into records in this series is needed to fully determine connections between records.

Access Information


Records described as being in a fair condition are available to researchers in consultation with the Archivist.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

The majority of records within this series are in a good condition, with the exception of one item.