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A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange (original 1962; edition 1986)

by Anthony Burgess

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16,230None107 (4.06)483
Title:A Clockwork Orange
Authors:Anthony Burgess
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (1986), Paperback, 213 pages
Collections:Your library

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A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (1962)

1001 (81) 1001 books (62) 20th century (174) British (189) British literature (151) classic (309) classics (217) crime (89) dystopia (730) dystopian (120) England (79) English (72) English literature (103) fiction (1,797) future (78) gangs (87) language (56) literature (253) made into movie (78) novel (312) own (75) read (268) satire (123) science fiction (821) sf (98) social commentary (60) speculative fiction (54) to-read (251) unread (108) violence (295)
1960s (5)
  1. 291
    1984 by George Orwell (wosret)
  2. 221
    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. 112
    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
    A Boy and His Dog [short story] by Harlan Ellison (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Futuristic ultraviolent teenage blues
  8. 21
    Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban (fugitive, sturlington)
  9. 11
    Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (sturlington)
  10. 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)
  11. 44
    The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (SqueakyChu)
  12. 01
    A Dead Man in Deptford by Anthony Burgess (Anonymous user)
  13. 01
    Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvine Welsh (SqueakyChu)
  14. 12
    The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe (thatguyzero)

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English (214)  Spanish (4)  French (3)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (227)
Showing 1-5 of 214 (next | show all)
Modern Library, Time Magazine, 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, The Guardian 1000, McCaffery, Barthelme, decoders of descendants of Rabelais, deciders of classics and producers of TV shows, all kowtowers to this work, one that says even more about the day and age when it is known that the last chapter was cut out of both US books and British movies for being too 'redeeming', leastwise till '86 rolled around and the editions reverted back to the intended 21, mark of the age of adulthood here in the States, if nowhere else. I wouldn't have known that last bit had not my own edition been one of the shortchanged, but the last chapter is easily found online these days, virulently popular thing that it is.

There are books I value more for my resulting recalibration processes than my instinctive appreciation. This is one of them.

..but it was like nice to go on knowing one was making the news all the time, O my brothers. Every day there was something about Modern Youth...

What's one relationship between comic books and video games? One, and in my mind the most important one, is the common outcry against the two media as propagators of violence in our youth and sundry, along with movies and rap music and anything else the generation currently in power didn't have their fill of to the tune of "Back in my day...!" You don't hear much about the former, of course, because it has been long ago and long appropriated by the new ringleaders of our sensationalist news and persnickety papers. You don't hear anything at all about the military industrial complex and its enormous sway on life, livelihood, and politics. And god forbid the word 'patriarchy' mutters its way across any amplified platform, for a gutpunch of 'Feminists!' and 'Intellectuals!' and 'America haters!' is guaranteed.

I don't like violence. I can deal it out if needed, I can watch it for as long as necessary, and it's been a long time since the smell of blood and guts phased me in any physical way, but I still don't like it. I especially don't like violence being excused as the format of a particular message, no matter how potent or powerful or prescient. It's the bread and butter of the patriarchy, it's a rat race glorified for its seeming eternity in the context of a bell jar, it's been done to death and will continue to rear its ugly head so long as humanity forgoes empathy for the individuals. This particular edition's afterword calls the book's government a socialist one. I say capitalism runs red just as easily.

All that made for my not liking the book very much. Sure, it's praised to high heaven and the linguistic acrobatics were rather nifty, but neither aspect appeals much to my humanity. For in the end, whatever chapter your edition ends with, it's far too easy to trap oneself in the book's dichotomy of free violence vs. emasculated peace; the fact that the word 'emasculated' exists in the first place without a consequential converse of 'enfeminated' and the like guarantees the world's bloodlusty cry of an answer from the get-go. What is needed is to break down the boundaries of this book completely and branch out into areas where the interplay is not always one of beat downer and beaten down, but of a realization that beating should be condemned, period. Boys don't beat up girls out of the chivalric urge of pedestal pinning (for however long that wins out against the objectifying need for proof of masculinity), but boys shouldn't be beating up boys either. If you don't want to deal with the aftermath embodied in A Clockwork Orange, don't breed them from birth.

Am I a weak-willed pussy for saying that? Sure, why not. One, the pussy is one of the strongest and most resilient muscles in the human body, unlike the much praised balls that do the frightened snail whenever there's the smallest drop in temperature. Two, all that contemptuous passive aggressive pansy scaredy-cat etc etc of the schoolyard catcalls and business place joshing? It's bullshit. Utter bullshit. If baby-boomers want to know where all their sweet children have grown their fangs and spines, look no further than their "Back in my day...!" tripe.

Finally, I liked the bits warning about governments deeming what is to be punished and acting accordingly, I really did. However, as it would take a sizeable US-centric leap to the current prisoner pipeline 'War on Drugs' fiasco of racial disenfranchising and constitutionalized slavery (look up the 13th Amendment if you don't believe me), it's too much of a free range cliché for me to accredit. I can't fault Burgess for now knowing about it as much as I do, but that was then. US readers of today need to be connecting the dots, and until that happens, this book is as much of a cauterization as it is a plague. ( )
4 vote Korrick | Apr 7, 2014 |
good reader. the last disc was anthony burgess reading. do you think they employed him but he wasn't very good? ( )
  mahallett | Feb 9, 2014 |
Violent and brutal as I heard, but not as graphic as I had been made to expect. I got used to the slang pretty quickly and it made the story better by showing where Alex came from. ( )
  SebastianHagelstein | Jan 4, 2014 |
More like 3.5 stars, since this is above average stuff. Burgess' invented language is a marvel, and I'm sure people who like linguistics more than I do will be able to find lots to think about. Just from the context of a word you can usually work out what it means; from the sound you can tell if it's a positive or negative word, and so on. As a novel of ideas, it'll hold up as long as there's a debate about free will (so, probably for a while yet). It's a bit too straightforward, as Burgess admits in his preface, but somebody has to say 'um, actually, I think we can do things,' and it might as well be novelists, since philosophers and political theorists and so on don't seem interested in doing so. As a novel, it should be read by anyone who wants to avoid dull, dull realism without giving in to the boring extremes of 'experimental prose.' Another reviewer described the book as a morality play, and I think that's about right- but that makes it interesting and fun and unusual. Much better than bringing the realistic novel back to 'life' (I'm looking at you, Franzen). ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
Love, love love this! I have read it several times, including the script for the movie as well. ( )
  darkonelh3730 | Dec 27, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 214 (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)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anthony Burgessprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buenaventura, RamónPrefacesecondary 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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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.
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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

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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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