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A Clockwork Orange [novel] (1962)

by Anthony Burgess

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
22,304346115 (4)687
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)
  1. 331
    Nineteen Eighty-Four 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, 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.
  4. 132
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (wosret)
  5. 62
    The Stranger by Albert Camus (SanctiSpiritus)
  6. 41
    A Boy and His Dog by Harlan Ellison (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Futuristic ultraviolent teenage blues
  7. 52
    Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban (fugitive)
  8. 20
    The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham (SnootyBaronet)
    SnootyBaronet: Teddy boys
  9. 20
    Hoppla! 1 2 3 (French Literature) by Gerard Gavarry (bluepiano)
    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 and striking book.
  10. 20
    Brighton Rock by Graham Greene (John_Vaughan)
  11. 10
    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)
  12. 22
    Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (sturlington)
  13. 77
    The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (SqueakyChu)
  14. 01
    A Dead Man in Deptford by Anthony Burgess (Anonymous user)
  15. 01
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  16. 13
    The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe (thatguyzero)
1960s (6)
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» See also 687 mentions

English (326)  Spanish (5)  French (4)  German (3)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (345)
Showing 1-5 of 326 (next | show all)
A skorry review I will write, O my brothers.

Alex, our main protagonist, and his fellow droogs are a menacing group of molodoy hooligans who go around crasting whatever they can get their hands on, tolchocking chellovecks and starry aged vecks and doing the ultra-violence on young ptitsas unfortunate enough to be in their destructive path.

Your gulliver may spin rapidly trying to read all the foreign slovos that will be thrown your way when you first begin to read this fantastically dark and dreary classic. Keep your glazzies on the prize O my brothers, for the story is amazing and thought-provoking.

Grab yourself a nice cold glass of moloko, some mounch to chew on, and strap yourself in for an awesome read! ( )
  ProfessorEX | Apr 15, 2021 |
A very violent and wondrous piece of work about a boy's joy of hostility and the government's idea of reformation. There are elements of coming of age, dystopia, and speculative fiction. The story is ultimately about maturation. It is written in a slang, which can be difficult to read. To me, you can get the jist of what is happening, and the slang helps give the story and characters uniqueness. There is a total of 21 chapters, although some books only come with 20 chapters. I highly recommend getting the 21 chapter versions as the last chapter does help support the theme of the book. ( )
  renbedell | Mar 23, 2021 |
I read this as a teenager, 72 is purely a guess -- it might have been earlier, but I don't remember. What I do remember is being overwhelmed with the nadsat glossery in the back. My good buddy, Tom Meinskow, had read it as well and we used the language a bit.

It's so interesting to me that the methodologies used in the book to 'tame' Alex of his violence were used in the 80's to try to cure homosexuals of their inclination. I don't know if that's life imitating art or if Burgess was describing something that was already happening.

Having him bereft of both violent urges and his beloved Beethovan said something to me about the complex nature of human desires. Sure, Alex was a creep -- but he was a product of his society. And the society's violence to him was even more vile. ( )
  wickenden | Mar 8, 2021 |
Burgess's future slang is more headache-inducing than interesting (in my opinion, people making up fictional future languages have yet to surpass Gene Wolfe in Book of the New Sun), and I'm not quite sure what his point is (the additional chapter that was never published just makes this all the more confusing). This does have its own unique energy, though, which I have to appreciate, and there are some times where the nadsat-talk does work. ( )
  skolastic | Feb 2, 2021 |
I loved the movie when I saw it as a teenager around 35 years ago, but I was always afraid to read the book. I assumed that all the crazy language wouldn't make any sense and I would just give up. Luckily there was a glossary of the words and what they meant in the back and after a chapter or two of referring to it a lot I only needed to look at it once in a while to figure what the narrator was talking about. It turned out that the "crazy language" was what I liked the most about the book.

I love the dark future that Burgess created, at least on the page, because it was horrific. I both hated the narrator and then felt bad for him and then hated him again, so the author definitely got an emotional reaction out of me.

I heard there was an alternate ending chapter that was released later but didn't get reflected in the movie. I'm kind of curious what it was, because the ending that I read seemed to kind end abruptly. ( )
  ragwaine | Jan 23, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 326 (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 (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Burgess, AnthonyAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arbonès, JordiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Šenkyřík, Ladislavsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brumm, WalterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buenaventura, RamónPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hollander, TomReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, BenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lundgren, CajTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morrison, BlakeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pelham, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walsh, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Welsh, IrvinePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'What's it going to be then, eh?'
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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)

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.

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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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