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A Clockwork Orange (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Anthony Burgess , Blake Morrison
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (298 customer reviews)
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Book Description

24 Feb 2000 Penguin Modern Classics

Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of a society overrun by nihilistic violence and governed by a menacing totalitarian state, A Clockwork Orange includes an introduction by Blake Morrison in Penguin Modern Classics.

Fifteen-year-old Alex doesn't just like ultra-violence - he also enjoys rape, drugs and Beethoven's ninth. He and his gang of droogs rampage through a dystopian future, hunting for terrible thrills. But when Alex finds himself at the mercy of the state and subject to the ministrations of Dr Brodsky, and the mind-altering treatment of the Ludovico Technique, he discovers that fun is no longer the order of the day. The basis for Stanley Kubrick's notorious 1971 film, A Clockwork Orange is both a virtuoso performance from an electrifying prose stylist and a serious exploration of the morality of free will.

In his introduction, Blake Morrison situates A Clockwork Orange within the context of Anthony Burgess's many other works, explores the author's unhappiness with the Stanley Kubrick film version, analyses the composition of the Nadsat argot spoken by Alex and his droogs, and examines the influences on Burgess's unique, eternally original style.

Anthony Burgess (1917-93) was born in Manchester in 1917. From 1954 to 1960 he was stationed in Malaysia as an education officer - during this time he started writing The Malayan Trilogy. Diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in 1959, Burgess became a full-time writer and went on to write a book a year up until his death in 1993. His many works include: The Complete Enderby, Tremor of Intent, The Kingdom of the Wicked and A Clockwork Orange.

If you enjoyed A Clockwork Orange, you might like Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

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

William S. Burroughs

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (24 Feb 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141182601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141182605
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (298 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,141 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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
'What's it going to be then, eh?' There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, Dim being really dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar making up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening, a flip dark chill winter bastard though dry. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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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 20 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 21 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 25 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 2 months 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 3 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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Whats it gonna be then, eh? 5 16 Oct 2007
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