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A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange (original 1962; edition 1986)

by Anthony Burgess

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16,675240106 (4.05)505
Title:A Clockwork Orange
Authors:Anthony Burgess
Info:W.W. Norton & Co. (1986), Paperback, 240 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned

Work details

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (1962)

1960s (8)
  1. 301
    Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (wosret)
  2. 231
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (MinaKelly)
  3. 110
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey may be paired with A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess or The Outsider by Albert Camus. All three novels explore the them of society versus the individual.
  4. 122
    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (wosret)
  5. 50
    The Stranger by Albert Camus (SanctiSpiritus)
  6. 10
    Brighton Rock by Graham Greene (John_Vaughan)
  7. 21
    Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (sturlington)
  8. 54
    The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (SqueakyChu)
  9. 21
    A Boy and His Dog [short story] by Harlan Ellison (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Futuristic ultraviolent teenage blues
  10. 21
    Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban (fugitive, sturlington)
  11. 00
    Rubicon Harvest by C. W. Kesting (Aeryion)
    Aeryion: The sub-culture of designer drug use and it's effect on the gritty society within Rubicon call back to A Clockwork Orange like an anesthetized echo. The prevalent use and abuse of the potent designer neurocotic Synth and the language (Illuminese) that the addicts speak amongst themselves is a brilliant homage to Burgess's original genius! This story gave me shivers as I read through the vivid hallucinatory narrative. A must read for every fan of the genre!… (more)
  12. 12
    The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe (thatguyzero)
  13. 01
    A Dead Man in Deptford by Anthony Burgess (Anonymous user)
  14. 01
    Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvine Welsh (SqueakyChu)

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» See also 505 mentions

English (226)  Spanish (5)  French (3)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (240)
Showing 1-5 of 226 (next | show all)
Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange is one of the most brilliant and original books I've ever read. It was astounding, in fact, I haven't enough adjectives to describe the power of the book, and the linguistic genius of its author.

Set in a post-apocalyptic London, Alex is the leader of a gang of toughs who get their jollies severely beating innocent strangers, and gang-raping any women unfortunate enough to cross their path. Their brutality is sickening, and it's only the disguise of Burgess' created Nadsat language that keeps the violence from overwhelming the reader.

Betrayed and deserted by his fellow gang-members, Alex is arrested one evening, and is tried for murder, as one of the gang's victims has died. He is sentenced to a long term inside an overcrowded prison, and what happens to him there and after his release forms the main part of the tale.

It's an rich book, intelligent, creative: the mere linguistic part of the book alone is enough to excite and fascinate. My brain went a bit further and pictured the young Malcolm McDowell in this role, heard his voice whilst reading, and this mental trickery made the book's nightmarish quality even more astonishing. ( )
  ahef1963 | Oct 14, 2014 |
An interesting exercise. The novel works as a sort of parable but not as a real novel. All is seen through the eyes of the protagonist Alex -- Your Humble Narrator -- and his matter-of-fact immersion in violence is disconcerting at first, but becomes boring and routine for the reader, much as it did for Alex. By the end he is wanting a different life and I think that was more a matter of boredom with the old than with any particular aversion to violence. He just wanted something different. An OK book, but I wouldn't go out of my way to read it again. ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 13, 2014 |
Not bad; better than I was expecting. It also has to be the most straight up book to film adaptation Kubrick ever made.

I didn't think it did the teen parlance as well as Catcher in the Rye or the numerous Georgia Nicolson books do but it was still entertaining reading Alex's version of things and him not realizing just how stupid he sounded. The plot line is a bit like Flowers for Algernon so the ending didn't really suprise me. I did enjoy Alex running into one of his old droogs and finding him all grown up. ( )
  pussreboots | Sep 20, 2014 |
A Clockwork Orange
Anthony Burgess
Introduced by Irvine Welsh
Illustrated by Ben Jones
  narbgr01 | Aug 14, 2014 |
Historically important and cleverly executed.

The first thing most people remember about this book is Burgess' invented lingo, Nadsat. It's difficult to get into, but it becomes natural pretty quickly - it's almost surprising how effortless it becomes.

The main character is a nasty piece of work - he's the leader of a local gang who quite enjoy vandalism, brutal assault, rape, and the occasional murder (although it's a delicacy seldom enjoyed, as it harbors greater consequences for the young droogs). Part of the background of the novel is that the terrible behavior of these boys is supposed to be the fault of the friendly neighborhood dystopian society, but I don't entirely buy that for personal and political reasons of my own. They're assholes. Let's work with that.

Through a short series of events, our dashing protagonist is arrested and undergoes a form of "aversion therapy," wherein his favorite acts of violence are associated with extreme feelings of pain, guilt, and sickness, and these feelings just happen to also be brought on by his favorite Beethoven. It works pretty well, for a while - unethical as it may be, it gets results.

Everything is fine for a little while, until a man he and his good brothers had wronged finds out exactly who he is, and decides to get revenge by playing Beethoven's 9th over - and over - and over again. The narrator jumps out of a window to escape the agony, and that's the end, right?

Wrong. He wakes up in the hospital and finds - joy of joys! - his aversion therapy has been reversed. He almost immediately returns to his life of crime; "they cured me, alright!" Well, so much for reformation.

In the final chapter (which was curiously left out in the original American version and thus out of Kubrick's film), the narrator has grown quite bored of violence. He meets up with an old droog who's settled down, married, got a job, white picket fence - the whole nine. Maybe that's what's been missing all along. So he decides to do the same, remarking that his own kids will probably be just as awful as he was.

This ending leaves a sour taste in my mouth, although it makes sense. While we could say it's a lingering effect of the therapy, in reality it seems more reasonable to say that he just burned himself out.

Have you ever gone into a fit of anger or rage and hit someone, or blackmailed them, or otherwise engaged in some sort of destructive behavior? Sadly, most of us have at some point - and as soon as it passes, we feel guilty and wish to return to being productive members of society. And we do. And sometimes it happens again. For the characters in the novel, it simply seems that this was more concentrated - a period of years rather than hours.

And that's why it makes more sense - people can change. Even rapists, murderers, the scum of the earth. And THAT is what leaves a sour taste in my mouth; maybe it doesn't have anything to do with the book at all. ( )
  zhyatt | Aug 11, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 226 (next | show all)
But all in all, “A Clockwork Orange” is a tour-de-force in nastiness, an inventive primer in total violence, a savage satire on the distortions of the single and collective minds.
In A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess has written what looks like a nasty little shocker but is really that rare thing in English letters—a philosophical novel. The point may be overlooked because the hero, a teen-age monster, tells all about everything in nadsat, a weird argot that seems to be all his own. Nadsat is neither gibberish nor a Joycean exercise. It serves to put Alex where he belongs—half in and half out of the human race.
added by Shortride | editTime (Feb 15, 1963)

» Add other authors (47 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anthony Burgessprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buenaventura, RamónPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, BenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Welsh, IrvinePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'What's it going to be then, eh?'
Goodness comes from within [...] Goodness is something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man.
Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses to be bad perhapsin some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him?
There is, in fact, not much point in writing a novel unless you can show the possibility of moral transformation, or an increase in wisdom, operating in your chief character or characters.
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Wikipedia in English (5)

Book description
A Clockwork Orange (1962) is a dystopian novel by Anthony Burgess.
The title is taken from an old Cockney expression, "as queer as a clockwork orange", and alludes to the prevention of the main character's exercise of his free will through the use of a classical conditioning technique. With this technique, the subject’s emotional responses to violence are systematically paired with a negative stimulation in the form of nausea caused by an emetic medicine administered just before the presentation of films depicting "ultra-violent" situations. Written from the perspective of a seemingly biased and unapologetic protagonist, the novel also contains an experiment in language: Burgess creates a new speech that is the teenage slang of the not-too-distant future.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393312836, Paperback)

The only American edition of the cult classic novel.

A vicious fifteen-year-old "droog" is the central character of this 1963 classic, whose stark terror was captured in Stanley Kubrick's magnificent film of the same title. In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. When the state undertakes to reform Alex—to "redeem" him—the novel asks, "At what cost?" This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition and Burgess's introduction "A Clockwork Orange Resucked."

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:49 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Told through a central character, Alex, the disturbing novel creates an alarming futuristic vision of violence, high technology, and authoritarianism. A modern classic of youthful violence and social redemption set in a dismal dystopia whereby a juvenile deliquent undergoes state-sponsored psychological rehabilitation for his aberrant behavior.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 14 descriptions

Legacy Library: Anthony Burgess

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Two editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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W.W. Norton

An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.

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Penguin Australia

Four editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182601, 0141037229, 0141192364, 0241951445


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