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A Clockwork Orange (Penguin Decades) Paperback – 1 Apr 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Re-issue edition (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141192364
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141192369
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (325 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 772,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anthony Burgess (25th February 1917-22nd November 1993) was one of the UK's leading academics and most respected literary figures. A prolific author, during his writing career Burgess found success as a novelist, critic, composer, playwright, screenwriter, travel writer, essayist, poet and librettist, as well as working as a translator, broadcaster, linguist and educationalist. His fiction includes Nothing Like the Sun, a recreation of Shakespeare's love-life, but he is perhaps most famous for the complex and controversial novel A Clockwork Orange, exploring the nature of evil. Born in Manchester, he spent time living in Southeast Asia, the USA and Mediterranean Europe as well as in England, until his death in 1993.

Product Description


"A terrifying and marvellous book." (Roald Dahl)

"A brilliant novel . . . a tour-de-force in nastiness, an inventive primer in total violence, a savage satire on the distortions of the single and collective minds." (The New York Times)

"I do not know of any other writer who has done as much with language as Mr Burgess has done here - the fact that this is also a very funny book may pass unnoticed." (William Burroughs)

"Burgess’s dystopian fantasy still fascinates as it clocks up 50 years" (The Times)

"The 50th anniversary of Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange is celebrated this weekend with the publication of a handsome new hardback edition (the edges of its paper are orange!) by Random House (£20). It is compiled and edited by Andrew Biswell – Burgess's biographer – and has a foreword by Martin Amis, as well as unpublished material including a 1972 interview with Burgess, the prologue to his 1986 A Clockwork Orange: A Play With Music, and his annotated 1961 typescript of the novel, complete with his doodles in the margins. His picture of an orange with a spring poking out of it is particularly special" (Independent) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

A new critical edition to celebrate the 50th anniversary of A Clockwork Orange - one of the most influential books of the twentieth century --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Kolobok on 7 Aug 2005
Format: Paperback
It's been quite a while since a book has impressed me so much. I didn't want to read it at first - it is, alongside Kubrick's film, infamous for its depiction of violence and brutality. Not really my sort of thing. But I picked it up idly one day and, once I'd started reading, found I couldn't stop.

The novel is set in a strange, dystopian future and focusses on the character of Alex, our 15 year old anti-hero, who spends his free time indulging in ultra-violence, theft, rape and classical music. What's amazing is how Burgess gradually makes the reader become so sympathetic to his 'hero'. Alex is bright, witty, defiant; openly confiding his thoughts and feelings to his audience - his "brothers". When the state locks him up and starts altering him with the morally dodgy "Ludovico Technique" one can't help but side with him against his 'doctors'.

Part of the book's genius is the fact it's so beautifully written and laid out. Burgess's surreal use of language is incredibly ingenious. He creates the wonderful 'nadsat' slang spoken by Alex and his friends (or 'droogs') through a combination of Russian and different styles of English. As a student of Russian, part of the fun was deciphering the words and sentences and every now and then exclaiming 'aha!' as meaning suddenly slotted into place.

Ultimately, this thought-provoking novel left me with lots to muse about. Questions on morality, society and, most importantly, an individual's free choice are brought up and it's left to the reader to ultimately decide what s/he thinks. The book jacket described this novel as 'one that every generation should read'. I really couldn't agree more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mark Slattery on 4 Nov 2008
Format: Paperback
Anthony Burgess was a literary giant. Despite his wishes, this remains the work for which he is best remembered. Most will know it through the film, with which he had scant involvement but which he defended after Stanley Kubrick became fainthearted. Yet few will have read the novel.

The prose is first person, confessional, in a consistent voice, our narrator the chief protagonist, Alex. The vocabulary is a mixture of English and a language called nadsat, an invented language based primarily on Russian but also German, French, and schoolboy terminology. The idea is you work it out for yourself but around a third of it is not intuitive. (The lazy can use the nadsat dictionary.)

The story is set in a not too distant future, with a terrifyingly bleak and broken down society in the grip of a classic liberal-reactionary struggle. It could well be today if you are a pessimist. The violence and sex is handled adroitly, even imperceptibly, and not at all crudely despite its evident brutality. It translates to screen with rather less subtlety. The scene with two ten year olds would be unfilmable or inflammatory.

The first person narration brings you closer to Alex and somehow you can be both horrified and sympathetic. The treatment he is given is arguably worse than the affliction. It both saves and dooms him, looking after his mind but not his soul. An ironic twist: he can't even read the Bible without feeling sick, and is deprived equally of the means both to offend and to defend. Burgess delivers a very modern parable, shot through with arsenic.

Viddy it carefully, O My Brothers; it's real horrorshow.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rosie Bellwood on 17 May 2014
Format: Paperback
It is unfair to judge this book and say it is using a made up language as it is not. Burgess uses slang from the world that he created which obviously will make it a challenge however it is worth the challenge to read thid book. I found this edition very helpful due to the inclusion of a glossary for when I was struggling with the language. It truely is a classic in the way it was written I would highly recomend it to anyone studying english however not if you are easily effected by distressing content. Violence and rape is included in this book so don't read it if you can't handle it, although not described in imense super detail Burgess does go through what the boys do. I am very happy I bought this edition as the extara content is interesting and great for helping you further understand the novel, further more it is the nicest feeling book I have ever read and I would recomend buying this just to have a feel of the ridiculously smooth pages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Miss C. Valcin on 24 April 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is one of those all time classics that I felt I just had to read- and I was not disappointed. Not having seen the film, I think this was a good base to start on. In the beginning of the book we meet out narrator 15 year old Alex who is with his `droogs' in a milk bar where the refreshments are spiked with various drugs. We are then taken on a non stop journey through various horrific crimes that Alex and his gang commit, including rape, burglary and GBH, the penultimate one ending with Alex being beaten up by his own gang and left to face the charges brought against him. Alex is then sent to prison where he is singled out to undergo `treatment' that is felt will help him to overcome his vicious tendencies. In the end Alex is left as a shell of himself, not being able to use his own emotions to conduct himself. It seems that Alex is cured, but this treatment goes against the entire idea of humans being `rational' beings.

Not wanting to give too much of the plot away, this book looks at various themes, one of them being the freedom of choice that humans have against good and evil. Although this book is written in slang it is very accessible and Burgess keeps the plot going from beginning to end. Another thing that I found really good in this book was the introduction which shines light on the process that Burgess used to complete this novel. I would definitely recommend.
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