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A Clockwork Orange (1962)

by Anthony Burgess

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
24,780376115 (3.99)1 / 715
Classic Literature. Fantasy. Fiction. Literature. HTML:

"A brilliant novel.... [A] savage satire on the distortions of the single and collective minds."??New York Times

In Anthony Burgess's influential nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, a teen who talks in a fantastically inventive slang that evocatively renders his and his friends' intense reaction against their society. Dazzling and transgressive, A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil and the meaning of human freedom. This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition, and Burgess's introduction, "A Clockwork Orange Resucked."… (more)

  1. 342
    Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (wosret)
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    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (lucyknows, Gregorio_Roth, Gregorio_Roth)
    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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    bluepiano: Central character is another criminally violent leader of a gang of youths. Here too the gang use slang terms of the author's devising. Less violence, a less straightforward narration, & to me a more interesting book.
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  13. 10
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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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    Sammelsurium: Both of these classic novels sympathetically portray main characters who commit horrific crimes and thereafter suffer under flawed criminal justice systems. They are written from quite different perspectives, but focus on similar themes of criminal responsibility and reform.… (more)
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  18. 01
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(see all 20 recommendations)

1960s (6)
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Teens (7)

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» See also 715 mentions

English (349)  Spanish (7)  French (4)  German (3)  Swedish (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (372)
Showing 1-5 of 349 (next | show all)
shows how people's morality is vague and easy to manipulate. KEEP YOUR ENEMY(COUNTRY) IN CHECK WHO HAS A KIND FACE. ( )
  kyl804 | Jun 4, 2023 |
alex is a babe ( )
  hk- | Apr 12, 2023 |
It took me a while to read this book because the violence mentioned by people who read it. The first part is very hard to read and it took some time to get used to the language but I guess the language actually helped to soften the effect of all the violence. It actually became interesting in part 2 and really really good in part 3. I am conflicted about the last chapter that was not included in the original American edition. I think the last chapter is a way for the author to come to a conclusion and show that violence is not all that and one may grow out of it. Is it better with or without? As a book I do think it might be better without. ( )
  hongjunz | Feb 20, 2023 |
This book is probably a classic, and one that I think a lot of people should read. But before we delve into the book itself, I’d just like to point out that Anthony Burgess used to live in Malta and that he left because the clergy pissed him off, and if that isn’t one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard I don’t know what is.

I’m sure you must have heard of the movie, and if you haven’t you should really get onto watching that movie. I must warn you though, it will ruin the song ‘Singing in the Rain’ for you forever, as it did to me.

The main character, Alex, is a youth (I would say not even in his twenties yet) who lives in a version of the United Kingdom (I think it might be London, but correct me if I’m wrong) that has been taken over by some kind of Soviet power. The basic idea here is that, in a dystopian future where Russia became a major world power (or rather the USSR), England became a place that adopted some rather strange words into their vocabulary that, upon further inspection, you can see to be coming from Russian origin.

Alex is a very violent and troubled youth who seems to find no problems with rape, drug use, attacking people for sport, and other activities that you would associate with gangs. In fact, he is the leader of a gang of ruffians – 3 of his so-called friends who follow him and his orders. He takes pride in this, and throughout the first part of the book is seen to revel in the violence that he sows around him. However, Alex soon falls victim to the law, and becomes part of a program designed to rehabilitate people like him into society by removing their need to commit violent acts.

This book really zeroes in on the issues of free will and society put together, taking it to the extreme and showing us what happens when we try to change human nature, or if it really can ever change. Alex is a brilliant character, and we’re lucky that we get all of the story in the first-person, meaning that we’re privy to his thoughts, desires, and plans. He may not be a very likable character in terms of morality, but you do end up liking him because he’s just such a damn good sweet talker sometimes. I really enjoyed reading it, even though I did need the help of the glossary sometimes to make sense of the vaguely-Russian-inspired words in the text. The movie adaptation is also spot on, keeping most of the original elements of the story in place and even keeping the ending firmly there.

Definitely my final rating has to be a 4/5. ( )
  viiemzee | Feb 20, 2023 |
I speak Polish and once learned a bit of Russian, so I had no trouble understanding nadsat for the most part. The point of it, I think, is to anchor Alex’s youth, what with each generation having its own slang that the generations before and after struggle to understand. Although you’re led to empathise with Alex a great deal, the degree of separation nadsat maintains is greater than the reader being real and Alex being a fictional character; I truly got the feeling, at the end, of being immersed in the reading of the memoir of a real person much younger than myself, me only being 22. I felt the generational rift between us! If there are any reader surrogates in this book, they’re the political types who take to imposing their ideas about themes onto our humble narrator.

I even found nadsat infectious, as slang often is, suddenly thinking of what Netflix series I should viddy and how I’d keep my rookers warm in this grahzny bastard winter. Drives my ptitsa bezoomny, all but scratching her gulliver. ( )
  woj2000 | Jan 23, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 349 (next | show all)
Mr. Burgess, whenever we remeet him in a literary setting, seems to be standing kneedeep in the shavings of new methods, grimed with the metallic filings of bright ideas. A Clockwork Orange, for example, was a book which no one could take seriously for what was supposed to happen in it-its plot and "meaning" were the merest pretenses-but which contained a number of lively notions, as when his delinquents use Russian slang and become murderous on Mozart and Beethoven. In a work by Burgess nothing is connected necessarily or organically with anything else but is strung together with wires and pulleys as we go.
added by SnootyBaronet | editThe New York Times, John Bayley
Burgess’s 1962 novel is set in a vaguely Socialist future (roughly, the late seventies or early eighties)—a dreary, routinized England that roving gangs of teenage thugs terrorize at night. In perceiving the amoral destructive potential of youth gangs, Burgess’s ironic fable differs from Orwell’s 1984 in a way that already seems prophetically accurate. The novel is narrated by the leader of one of these gangs-—Alex, a conscienceless schoolboy sadist—and, in a witty, extraordinarily sustained literary conceit, narrated in his own slang (Nadsat, the teenagers’ special dialect). The book is a fast read; Burgess, a composer turned novelist, has an ebullient, musical sense of language, and you pick up the meanings of the strange words as the prose rhythms speed you along.
added by SnootyBaronet | editThe New Yorker, Pauline Kael
A Clockwork Orange, the book for which Burgess — to his understandable dismay — is best known. A handy transitional primer for anyone learning Russian, in other respects it is a bit thin. Burgess makes a good ethical point when he says that the state has no right to extirpate the impulse towards violence. But it is hard to see why he is so determined to link the impulse towards violence with the aesthetic impulse, unless he suffers, as so many other writers do, from the delusion that the arts are really rather a dangerous occupation. Presumably the connection in the hero’s head between mayhem and music was what led Stanley Kubrick to find the text such an inspiration. Hence the world was regaled with profound images of Malcolm McDowell jumping up and down on people’s chests to the accompaniment of an invisible orchestra.

It is a moot point whether Burgess is saying much about human psychology when he so connects the destructive element with the creative impulse. What is certain is that he is not saying much about politics. Nothing in A Clockwork Orange is very fully worked out. There is only half a paragraph of blurred hints to tell you why the young marauders speak a mixture of English and Russian. Has Britain been invaded recently? Apparently not. Something called ‘propaganda’, presumably of the left-wing variety, is vaguely gestured towards as being responsible for this hybrid speech. But even when we leave the possible causes aside, and just examine the language itself, how could so basic a word as ‘thing’ have been replaced by the Russian word without other, equally basic, words being replaced as well?
added by SnootyBaronet | editNew York Review of Books, Clive James
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 (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Burgess, Anthonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Amis, MartinPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Arbonès, JordiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Šenkyřík, LadislavTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
信一郎, 乾翻訳secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Üstel, AzizTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Belmont, GeorgesTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Biswell, AndrewEditor and Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blumenbach, UlrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bossi, FlorianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brumm, WalterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buddingh, C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buddingh, W.F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buenaventura, RamónPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chabrier, HortenseTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Csejdy, AndrásAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dagys, SauliusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Damsma, HarmTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fančović, MarkoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fernandes, FábioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gunn, JamesPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hollander, TomNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horváth, László, Gy.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hyman, Stanley EdgarAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, BenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kořínek, OtakarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Körpe, DostTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Konttinen, Moog(käänt.)secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krege, WolfgangTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leal Fernández, AníbalTraductorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lundgren, CajTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Melchior, ClausEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miedema, NiekTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mikkin, DanKujundaja.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, RonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Monzó, QuimIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morrison, BlakeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pelham, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pelham, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quijada, AnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rawlinson, MarkEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rogde, IsakOvers.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Self, WillIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steinz, PieterAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stiller, RobertTł.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trengrove, BarryJacket Designsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Uibo, UdoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vieira, José LuandinoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walsh, JohnIntroductionsecondary 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.
It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you watch them on a screen.
Then I noticed, in all my pain and sickness, what music it was that like crackled and boomed on the sound-track, and it was Ludwig van, the last movement of the Fifth Symphony, and I creeched like bezoomny at that. ‘Stop!’ I creeched. ‘Stop, you grahzny disgusting sods. It’s a sin, that’s what it is, a filthy unforgivable sin, you bratchnies!’
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Classic Literature. Fantasy. Fiction. Literature. HTML:

"A brilliant novel.... [A] savage satire on the distortions of the single and collective minds."??New York Times

In Anthony Burgess's influential nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, a teen who talks in a fantastically inventive slang that evocatively renders his and his friends' intense reaction against their society. Dazzling and transgressive, A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil and the meaning of human freedom. This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition, and Burgess's introduction, "A Clockwork Orange Resucked."

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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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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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