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A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange (original 1962; edition 1986)

by Anthony Burgess

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17,67826097 (4.03)587
Title:A Clockwork Orange
Authors:Anthony Burgess
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (1986), Paperback, 213 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (1962)

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    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.
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    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)
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English (243)  Spanish (5)  French (3)  Swedish (2)  Finnish (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (1)  German (1)  All languages (258)
Showing 1-5 of 243 (next | show all)
A re-read (of course). There's little one can say about this book that hasn't been said before.
As with the first time I read it; I was overwhelmingly impressed with the use of language, how effective the slang is in context, and how readable Burgess makes it. (I definitely understood more of the etymologies than I did when I was a teenager!)
The first time I read it, I was unaware that there was a glossary at the back of the book. DON'T use the glossary. It wasn't even compiled by Burgess; I don't think some of the definitions were quite right, and referring to it will only detract from the reading experience.

This time was the first time I read the 21st chapter. (Thanks to the Internet.) All I can say is: sometimes editors are right, and authors are wrong. I know that Burgess felt that the final chapter was structurally necessary to the book, and it does brings some elements full circle, BUT - the contents of the last chapter are not only intrinsically unbelievable, they diminish the power of the book.
The last chapter makes it clear that Burgess intended his book to be about growing through 'wild youth' into maturity; about the generation gap between old and young. Unfortunately, the character that Burgess created is NOT simply a young man sowing his wild oats. Alex is truly a sociopath. People who do the things Alex is showed doing, with his total lack of empathy, do NOT suddenly 'switch' at age 21 and become productive members of society. If Burgess could've convincingly showed Alex growing, it would've been a tour-de-force. But the last chapter is so clunky, it completely fails. Earlier in the book, when we see Alex's old droogs having joined society as part of a brutal, corrupt police force: that's utterly believable, and works amazingly well. But in the last chapter, after all society's blundering efforts have failed, and Alex just sort of randomly gets bored with violence and starts loving cute babies and wanting to settle down and become a family man... you just have to go "eh?" It's not internally consistent. My theory is that Burgess was trying to convince himself of his Christian ideals that even the worst people are capable of redemption and deserving of forgiveness. But the book he wrote does not give us a character who is either redeemable or forgivable.

For the book, without the last chapter, a full five stars. As it stands, it is a gloriously dystopic treatise on sociopathy and abuse of authority; about the value of free will.

It may not be the book that Burgess intended to write - but sometimes truth shines through regardless of intentionality. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
No wonder now why this is a classic. The lingo gets easier to read as you go along, and there are times where I really sympathized with Alex, and then immediately I'd revel in his misfortunate. Which is hard to do, playing that back-and-forth game with the reader, but Burgess definitely pulls it off.

Note: I made sure to read the original version written by Burgess & published in Britain, and not the American edition (which is one chapter short). You need to read the last chapter as intended by the author. ( )
  elle-kay | Jan 27, 2016 |
Burgess puts on his linguists hat for this foray into the realm of the surreal, not-so-distant future. We know he has succeeded when we find ourselves rooting for the bad guy. Also, one of Stanley Kubrick's most controversial films. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
TERRIBLE! Couldn't get passed a couple chapter with fully understanding whats going on. Not my type of book.
  alwelker | Jan 25, 2016 |
TERRIBLE! Couldn't get passed a couple chapter with fully understanding whats going on. Not my type of book.
  alwelker | Jan 25, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 243 (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 (43 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Burgess, Anthonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buenaventura, RamónPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hollander, TomReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, BenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pelham, DavidCover artistsecondary 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 perhaps in 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.
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:27 -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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1.5 14
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2 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

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182601, 0141037229, 0141192364, 0241951445


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