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A Clockwork Orange (1962)
by Anthony Burgess
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shows how people's morality is vague and easy to manipulate. KEEP YOUR ENEMY(COUNTRY) IN CHECK WHO HAS A KIND FACE. ( )
alex is a babe
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.
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‚Äôd 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‚Äôt one of the funniest things I‚Äôve ever heard I don‚Äôt know what is.
I‚Äôm sure you must have heard of the movie, and if you haven‚Äôt you should really get onto watching that movie. I must warn you though, it will ruin the song ‚ÄėSinging in the Rain‚Äô 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‚Äôm 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 ‚Äď 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‚Äôre lucky that we get all of the story in the first-person, meaning that we‚Äôre 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‚Äôs 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.
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‚Äôs youth, what with each generation having its own slang that the generations before and after struggle to understand. Although you‚Äôre 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‚Äôre 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‚Äôd keep my rookers warm in this grahzny bastard winter. Drives my ptitsa bezoomny, all but scratching her gulliver.
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.
Burgess‚Äôs 1962 novel is set in a vaguely Socialist future (roughly, the late seventies or early eighties)‚ÄĒa dreary, routinized England that roving gangs of teenage thugs terrorize at night. In perceiving the amoral destructive potential of youth gangs, Burgess‚Äôs ironic fable differs from Orwell‚Äôs 1984 in a way that already seems prophetically accurate. The novel is narrated by the leader of one of these gangs-‚ÄĒAlex, a conscienceless schoolboy sadist‚ÄĒand, in a witty, extraordinarily sustained literary conceit, narrated in his own slang (Nadsat, the teenagers‚Äô 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.
A Clockwork Orange, the book for which Burgess ‚ÄĒ to his understandable dismay ‚ÄĒ 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äėpropaganda‚Äô, 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 ‚Äėthing‚Äô have been replaced by the Russian word without other, equally basic, words being replaced as well?
But all in all, ‚ÄúA Clockwork Orange‚ÄĚ 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‚ÄĒa 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‚ÄĒhalf in and half out of the human race.
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Grote ABC (210)
Heyne Allgemeine Reihe (928 / 6777 / 13079)
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Penguin Decades (1960s)
„ÉŹ„É§„āę„ÉĮśĖáŚļę NV (142)
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A Clockwork Orange / Glengarry Glen Ross / Massage / Kvetch / Macbeth / The Maids / Disco Pigs by Marcel Otten
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Un' arancia panlinguistica: espressione, comunicazione e gioco in A clockwork orange di Anthony Burgess e nella sua traduzione italiana by Carla Sassi
The fictional universe in four science fiction novels: Anthony Burgess's "A Clockwork Orange," Ursula Le Guin's "The Word for World is Forest," Walter Miller's "A Canticle for Leibowitz," and Roger Zelazny's "Creatures of Light and Darkness." by Sam Joseph Siciliano
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Articles On Novels By Anthony Burgess, including: A Clockwork Orange, Nadsat, Alex (a Clockwork Orange), Korova Milk Bar, A Clockwork Orange (film), ... Seed, Napoleon Symphony, Earthly Powers by Hephaestus Books
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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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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)823.914Literature English & Old English literatures English fiction Modern Period 1901-1999 1945-1999
An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.
4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.
Editions: 0141182601, 0141037229, 0141192364, 0241951445