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A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange (original 1962; edition 1986)

by Anthony Burgess

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17,86926496 (4.03)594
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)

  1. 321
    1984 by George Orwell (wosret)
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    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (MinaKelly)
  3. 130
    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. 132
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (wosret)
  5. 60
    The Stranger by Albert Camus (SanctiSpiritus)
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    A Boy and His Dog [short story] by Harlan Ellison (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Futuristic ultraviolent teenage blues
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    Brighton Rock by Graham Greene (John_Vaughan)
  8. 21
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  9. 66
    The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (SqueakyChu)
  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)
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1960s (8)
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English (247)  Spanish (5)  French (3)  Swedish (2)  Finnish (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (1)  German (1)  All languages (262)
Showing 1-5 of 247 (next | show all)
Hardcover (edit)
review сомнительное чтиво.
Очевидно, на любителя. Как и некая "дорога".​

Пытался пересилить себя почитать, полистать, но эт​от сленг просто на корню рубит мою способность пон​имать и наслаждаться или хотя бы просто спокойно в​
В общем бредятина редкая. Очень негативные ощущени​я во время чтения книги. очень.​ ( )
  Billy.Jhon | Apr 25, 2016 |
I actually found myself enjoying this much to my surprise.
I'd always thought this was an awful story from things I had heard, but it was very interesting. ( )
  hredwards | Apr 19, 2016 |
One of my favorites actually. I liked the unfamiliar language and ugly future of it. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
TERRIBLE! Couldn't get passed a couple chapter with fully understanding whats going on. Not my type of book.
  welkeral | Mar 20, 2016 |
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.

The novel has been adapted for cinema by Stanley Kubrick and Andy Warhol; adaptations have also been made for television and the stage. As well as inspiring a concept album, the novel and films are referred to in and have inspired a number of songs.

Contents [hide]
1 Plot summary
1.1 Part 1: Alex's world
1.2 Part 2: The Ludovico Technique
1.3 Part 3: After prison
2 Characters
3 Omission of the final chapter
4 Analysis
4.1 Title
4.2 Point of view
4.3 Use of slang
5 Awards and nominations and rankings
6 Adaptations
6.1 Cinema
6.2 Television
6.3 Stage
6.4 Music
7 Release details
8 See also
9 References
10 External links

[edit] Plot summary
The plot summary in this article is too long or detailed compared to the rest of the content. Please edit the article to focus on discussing the work rather than merely reiterating the plot. (September 2008)

[edit] Part 1: Alex's world
Alex, a young teenager living in a fascist near-future England, leads his gang on nightly orgies of random, opportunistic violence. Alex's friends ("droogs" in the novel's Anglo-Russified slang) are Dim, a slow-witted bruiser who is the gang's muscle; Georgie; and Pete. Alex, quick-witted and possessing an often disconcerting sense of humour, is clearly the smartest of the group and even seemingly cultured.

The novel opens with the thugs hunkered down in their favourite Milkbar, drinking drugged milk to hype themselves for the night's mayhem. They beat up a scholar walking home from the library, stamp a panhandling derelict, scuffle with a rival gang led by Billyboy, rob a newsagent and leave its owners unconscious, then steal a car. Joyriding in the countryside, they break into an isolated cottage and maul the young couple living there, beating the husband and raping his wife. The droogs ditch the car, and Dim and Georgie make clear their dissatisfaction with Alex's domination of the gang. At home in his dreary flat, Alex plays classical music thunderously while bringing himself to climax with fantasies of even more orgiastic violence.

Alex skips school the next morning and is visited by P. R. Deltoid, a "post-corrective advisor" assigned to remediate his juvenile delinquency. Visiting his favourite music shop, Alex picks up a pair of girls and takes them back to his parents' flat, where they indulge in sexual interaction.

Later, Alex chats with his parents, who are sceptical of his claims about having a night job but too intimidated to press the issue. Arriving late to meet the droogs, who have already pumped themselves up with "the old knifey moloko" (i.e., drugged milk), Alex is at a disadvantage. Georgie challenges Alex for leadership of the gang, demanding that they pull a "mansized" job by robbing a wealthy old woman who lives alone with her cats. Alex quells the rebellion by slashing Dim and Georgie in a knife fight, then in a show of generosity takes them to a bar for some fortifying drinks. Georgie and Dim are ready to call it a night, but Alex bullies them into proceeding with the burglary. Alex enters through a second-floor window and, after a farcical struggle, knocks the old woman unconscious. When he tries to flee, Dim attacks him and the droogs leave Alex incapacitated in the doorway as they run off. Alex is roughed up by the police. The next day he finds out that the woman has died and he will be charged with murder.

[edit] Part 2: The Ludovico Technique
After enduring prison life for two years, Alex gets a job as an assistant to the prison chaplain. He feigns an interest in religion and amuses himself by reading the Bible for its lurid descriptions of "the old yahoodies (Jews) tolchocking (beating) each other" and imagining himself taking part in "the nailing-in" (the Crucifixion of Jesus). Alex learns of his ex-droog Georgie's death by an intended victim during a botched robbery. He also hears about an experimental rehabilitation programme called "the Ludovico technique", which promises that the prisoner will be released upon completion of the two-week treatment and, as a result, will not commit any crimes afterwards. The prison chaplain warns against it, arguing that moral choice is necessary to humanity — a theme introduced earlier during the home invasion scene, when Alex reads a passage from the victimised husband's work in progress.

After helping to kill (although accidentally) a fellow prisoner in his cell, Alex is selected to become the subject in the first full-scale trial of the Ludovico Technique. The technique itself is a form of aversion therapy, in which Alex is given a drug that induces extreme nausea while being forced to watch graphically violent films for two weeks. Strapped into a seat before a large screen, Alex is forced to watch an unrelenting series of violent acts. During the sessions, Alex begins to realise that not only the violent acts but the music on the soundtrack is triggering his nausea attacks. (Kubrick's film version narrows this down so that only Beethoven's Ninth Symphony has this effect.) Alex pleads with the supervising doctors to remove the music, crying that it is a sin to take away his love of music and adding that "Ludwig Van" did nothing wrong and "only made music", claiming that it was wrong to use the composer in that way, but they refuse, saying that it is for his own good and that the music may be the "punishment element". By the end of the treatment, Alex is unable to listen Beethoven's 9th symphony without incapacitating nausea and distress.

A few weeks later, Alex is presented to an audience of prison and government officials as a successfully rehabilitated inmate and potential member of society. Alex's conditioning makes him unable to defend himself against a pummelling bully and cripples him with nausea when the sight of a scantily clad woman arouses his predatory sexual impulses. The prison chaplain rises to denounce the treatment and accuses the state of stripping Alex of the ability to choose good over evil. "Padre, these are subtleties", a government official replies. "The point is that it works". And so Alex is released into society.

[edit] Part 3: After prison
After his release from prison, Alex's former victims seek revenge. The Ludovico treatment leaves him ill when he attempts violence, so he is powerless. Alex returns home, joyful at the thought of starting afresh but finds that his parents have rented out his room to a lodger named Joe, essentially "replacing" their son. Despondently wandering, Alex stops at the Korova Milk Bar and drinks synthemesc-laced milk, as opposed to his usual drencrom-laced milk. He visits the music store, but the technique made him incapable of listening to his beloved classical music. Alex decides to commit suicide, but is unable to because the technique prevents him from committing any act of violence, including against himself. In the public library, Alex is quickly recognised by the elderly librarian whom he had beaten up with his droogs in chapter one. With his friends, the librarian attacks and beats Alex. The police (called by the librarian) turn out to be Dim and Billyboy. Taking advantage of their positions, they take Alex to the town's edge, beat him, nearly drown him, and leave him for dead.

Alex wanders in a daze through the countryside until he collapses at the door of an isolated cottage. Too late he realises this is the home he and his droogs invaded at the start of the book. He is taken in by F. Alexander, the husband of the woman the droogs gang-raped; Mr. Alexander doesn't recognise Alex because the droogs were wearing masks during the assault. We learn that Mrs. Alexander died of the injuries inflicted during the gang-rape, and her husband has decided to continue "where her fragrant memory persists" despite the horrid memories. Mr. Alexander recognises Alex from newspaper publicity about the behaviour-mod treatment, and sees an opportunity to use him as a political weapon by turning him into a poster child for the victims of fascism. Alex has been careless with words during his time in Mr. Alexander's care, and the writer begins to suspect they have met before. One of his political activist friends takes Alex aside and puts the question to him bluntly: Alex, cornered, makes a non-denial denial by saying "Lord knows I've suffered". "We'll speak no more of it", the friend assures him, but later on Alex is taken to another house, locked into a high room and tormented with classical music, triggering the maddening effect of the Ludovico treatment. Driven to insanity by the music, Alex jumps from his bedroom window in an attempt to end his life.

Alex wakes up in a hospital, where he learns that the government, trying to reverse the bad publicity it incurred in the wake of Alex's suicide attempt, has reversed the effects of the Ludovico treatment. Mr. Alexander has been incarcerated in a mental institution, "for his own protection and for yours," Alex is told. In return for agreeing to "play ball" with the powers that be, Alex is promised a cushy job at high salary. His parents take him back in, and Alex happily ponders returning to his life of ultra-violence.

In the final chapter, Alex finds himself half-heartedly preparing for yet another night of crime with a new trio of droogs. After watching them beat an innocent stranger walking home with a newspaper, he begins to feel bored with his life of violence. He abandons the gang then has a chance encounter with Pete, who has reformed and married. Alex begins contemplating giving up crime himself to become a productive member of society and start a family of his own, while reflecting on the notion that his own children could be just as destructive as he was himself.

[edit] Characters
Alex: The novel's anti-hero and leader among his droogs. He often refers to himself as "Your Humble Narrator". (Having seduced two girls in a music shop, Alex refers to himself as "Alexander the Large" while ravishing them; this was later the basis for Alex's claimed surname DeLarge in the 1971 film.)
George or Georgie: Effectively Alex's greedy second-in-command. Georgie attempts to undermine Alex's status as leader of the gang. He later dies from a botched robbery attempt during Alex's stay in prison.
Pete: The most rational and least violent member of the gang. He is the only one who doesn't take particular sides when the Droogs fight among themselves. He later meets a girl, reunites with Alex, causing Alex to consider joining society.
Dim: An idiotic and thoroughly gormless member of the gang, persistently condescended to by Alex. He later becomes a police officer, exacting his revenge on Alex for the abuse he once suffered under his command.
P. R. Deltoid: An anally retentive social worker assigned the task of keeping Alex on the straight and narrow. He seemingly has no clue about dealing with young people, and is devoid of empathy or understanding for his troublesome charge. Indeed, when Alex is arrested for murdering an old woman, and then ferociously beaten by several police officers, Deltoid simply spits on him.
The prison chaplain: The character who first questions whether or not forced goodness is really better than chosen wickedness. The only character who is truly concerned about Alex's welfare; he is not taken seriously by Alex, though. (He is nicknamed by Alex "prison charlie" or "chaplin", a nod to Charlie Chaplin.)
The governor: The man who decides to let Alex "choose" to be the first reformed by the Ludovico Technique.
Dr. Brodsky: A malevolent scientist and co-founder of the Ludovico Technique. He appears friendly and almost paternal towards Alex at first, before forcing him into the theatre to be psychologically tortured.
Dr. Branom: Brodsky's colleague and co-founder of the Ludovico Technique. He seems much more passive than Brodsky, and says considerably less.
F. Alexander: An author who was in the process of typing his magnum opus A Clockwork Orange, when Alex and his droogs broke into his house, beat him and then brutally gang raped his wife, which caused her subsequent death. He is left deeply scarred by these events, and when he encounters Alex two years later he uses him as a guinea pig in a sadistic experiment intended to prove the inefficiency of the Ludovico Technique.
Otto Skadelig: a fictional Danish composer. The first movement of his third symphony is violent in style. It prompts Alex to attempt suicide. His surname means "harmful" in Danish.[1]

[edit] Omission of the final chapter
The book has three parts of seven chapters each. Burgess has stated that the total of 21 chapters was an intentional nod to the age of 21 being recognised as a milestone in human maturation. The 21st chapter was omitted from the editions published in the United States prior to 1986.[2] In the introduction to the updated American text (these newer editions include the missing 21st chapter), Burgess explains that when he'd first brought the book to an American publisher, he'd been told that U.S. audiences would never go for the final chapter, in which Alex sees the error of his ways, decides he has lost all energy for and thrill from violence and resolves to turn his life around (a slow-ripening but classic moment of metanoia; the moment at which one's protagonist realises that everything he thought he knew was wrong).

At the American publisher's insistence, Burgess allowed their editors to cut the redeeming final chapter from the U.S. version, so that the tale would end on a note of bleak despair, with young Alex succumbing to his darker nature; an ending which the publisher insisted would be 'more realistic' and appealing to a U.S. audience. The film adaptation, directed by Stanley Kubrick, is based on this "badly flawed" (Burgess' words, ibid.) American edition of the book. Kubrick claimed[citation needed] that he had not read the original version until he had virtually finished the screenplay, but that he certainly had never given any serious consideration to using it.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 247 (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
Берджесс, Энтониmain 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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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 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

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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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