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A Clockwork Orange (Penguin Essentials) [Paperback]

Anthony Burgess
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (298 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

7 April 2011 Penguin Essentials

A Clockwork Orange is the daring and electrifying book by Anthony Burgess that inspired one of the most notorious films ever made, beautifully repackaged as part of the Penguin Essentials range.

'What we were after was lashings of ultraviolence'

In this nightmare vision of youth in revolt, fifteen-year-old Alex and his friends set out on a diabolical orgy of robbery, rape, torture and murder. Alex is jailed for his teenage delinquency and the State tries to reform him - but at what cost?

Social prophecy? Black comedy? Study of freewill? A Clockwork Orange is all of these. It is also a dazzling experiment in language, as Burgess creates a new language - 'nadsat', the teenage slang of a not-too-distant future.

'Every generation should discover this book' Time Out

'A gruesomely witty cautionary tale' Time

'Not only about man's violent nature and his capacity to choose between good and evil. It is about the excitements and intoxicating effects of language' Daily Telegraph

'I do not know of any other writer who has done as much with language...a very funny book' William S. Burroughs

'One of the cleverest and most original writers of his generation' The Times

Anthony Burgess was born in Manchester in 1917. He studied English at Manchester University and joined the army in 1940 where he spent six years in the Education Corps. After demobilization, he worked first as a college lecturer in Speech and Drama and then as a grammar-school master before becoming an education officer in the Colonial Service, stationed in Malay and Borneo. In 1959 Burgess was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and decided to become a full-time writer. Despite being given less than a year to live, Burgess went on to write at least a book a year - including A Clockwork Orange (1962), M/F (1971), Man of Nazareth (1979), Earthly Powers (1980) and The Kingdom of the Wicked (1985) - and hundreds of book reviews right up until his death. He was also a prolific composer and produced many full-scale works for orchestra and other media during his lifetime. Anthony Burgess died in 1993.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (7 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241951445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241951446
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 0.8 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (298 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 90,088 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 gruesomely witty cautionary tale (Time)

Every generation should discover this book (Time Out)

Not only about man's violent nature and his capacity to choose between good and evil. It is about the excitements and intoxicating effects of language (Daily Telegraph)

I do not know of any other writer who has done as much with language...a very funny book (William S. Burroughs)

One of the cleverest and most original writers of his generation (The Times)

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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In short: wow 7 Aug 2005
By Kolobok
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't agree more with Mr Satire 4 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Well written, interesting and challenging. But anyone who believes this to be the book of the twentieth century has obviously not being reading very much. A cursory glance at "1984", or "Brighton Rock", or virtually anything else would disavow them of that notion. Still, good work Burgess.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Horrorshow, my brothers! 29 Aug 2000
By A Customer
Burgess's masterpiece, and to his own dismay a confirmed cult classic. He never escaped the influence or the infamy of this book, and I doubt he ever will, even in death. Alex, the 'Beethoven-loving' central character maraudes throughout a future dystopia with his three droogs without restraint in a disturbing and gripping tale told through in the language of 'Nadsat'; a bastardized conglomeration of nonsense and English.(The language may seem a little incomprehensible at first, but don't be dissuaded, the book wouldn't be half as good without it; in a way it's what makes it so original and you soon get used to it, or should I say fluent in it. I found myself using Nadsat phraseology in my own conversations while I was reading it, just for fun).That is until he is betrayed by his droogs and imprisoned. The real message of the book then begins to appear however, and all the violence that assaults us in the first part of the book suddenly serves its purpose. While imprisoned Alex agrees to become a guinea pig in an experiment; an experiment to alter his mind, to cure him of all wicked impulses. He agrees in the hope that he will be let out of jail early, and he gets his wish. He is systematically brainwashed with aversion therapy, until he cannot willfully inflict harm on anyone without becoming violently nauseous. And so fully cured, he walks free. Then his troubles really begin, because he no longer has the ability to cope with the dystopia he previously relished for all its anarchy. He gets beaten up by his former droogs, now policemen, and is subjected to a number of encounters in which his former victims are able to take their revenge for his former deeds. Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute must read... 24 Aug 2006
There's so much more to this book than the hype. The underlying theme about morals, violence and the imposition of a civilised society, whether there are people who are truely bad people or whether it is just a phase, whether somethings should just be accepted as part of society, or a same set of values imposed on us all. I found the book a fantastic read. I wont say it was easy, but I needn't have been concerned about not getting it, as it doesn't take long to understand the language used by Alex & co, and it helped immerse the reader (along with Burgess' description of the droogs) into his world.

Althugh I haven't seen the film, the book hasn't made me want to. I've got a vivid enough picture in my mind as to what Burgess was trying to convey, and I think my interpretation is more than enough. The book is fantastic, and stands well on it's own.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Undoubtedly a 20th Century classic 29 Jun 2006
The strange lingo is called Nadsat and, it's not/never was a secret - it's based on Russian. This book is a massive cultural milestone, as is Kubrick's adaptation for the big screen. It's probably about 15 years since I read, and fell in love with, this book. Haven't actually gotten round to reading it again, but I bought several copies to give to friends, etc. You couldn't claim to be interested in popular culture and not have read this book - even if you don't enjoy it (and the violence is graphic), it's a must-read! I remember how strange the book felt, being written in this weird lingo which, at first, seems to alienate, but then, very quickly, has the effect of drawing you in to the world of Alex and his Droogs. At the time, Kubrick's film was still banned, and I waited several more years, until 1996/7, to see it (on a foreign satellite channel). Great film, better book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
One of my favorite books. Comes with a glossary for all the nadsat language, which is highly useful. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Iona
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!!
It usually takes me months to try and read a book but A Clockwork Orange was so intense yet a guilty pleasure, it grabs you. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Molly
4.0 out of 5 stars Language makes it difficult but enjoyable
The language used (cannot remember what the author calls it) makes it a difficult read at points words like viddy and glazzy are easier to understand but it is annoying to have to... Read more
Published 19 days ago by Liam Michael O'Shea
5.0 out of 5 stars A welll known classic
...and still fresh and captivating. Bought for my son. This book just cannot be described. Some of you have seen the equally excellent film of Kubrick. Read the book too! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Zoska
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book I've ever read
I've tried to read this book at least once a year since I first read it, I just love it that much. Its without question one of my favourite books ever written (shared with One Flew... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Nick
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as advertised
As good as advertised or even better, perfect conditions, no complains, fast delivery
I don`t know what else to say really..
Published 2 months ago by Alessandro Benedetti
5.0 out of 5 stars read the book, don't bother with the film
so much more powerful than the film
whatever you do don't use a dictionary of the nadsat speak as it will taint your experience
love the book
introduction was great... Read more
Published 2 months ago by asher
1.0 out of 5 stars Stupid
why did it not say it was in a made up language?! Such a pain flicking back to glossary, especially on kindle!!! Much appreciated if someone could rewrite it in actual English.
Published 3 months ago by Mike!!
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a kruschty troode.
Having heard this was a kruschty troode by some very good maggs of mine, very good indeed, I brought a copy from my local grunt and sat down in my hursty to read it I did. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Inkpen
5.0 out of 5 stars A real horrorshow book, my droogies!
Man, oh man. Why did I wait this long to read this?

This is one of the most brilliant books I have ever read. Ingenious in the way it is written, executed, and created. Read more
Published 4 months ago by S. Shamma
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