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A Clockwork Orange (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Anthony Burgess , Blake Morrison
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (313 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: 19.8 x 13 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (313 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,041 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
54 of 57 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars jeremysole@hotmail.com 14 July 2000
By A Customer
A Clockwork Orange what can i say. Such a compelling read, a world of ultra violence and moloko, such a life Alex and his Droogs lead. I read the book before i witnessed the movie, the book has a great blend of russian vocab and britsh slang. this can be quite off-putting to a to a person who doesn't know anything about "Clockwork" but soon enough the language has you in its grip and you feel you have known it all your life. I can imagine living a life such as Alex's, of violence, rape and drugs. But the torment of his actions soon take toll on him, forced to undergo treatment of the most horrifying, condoned by the government. Coming back from this harsh but somewhat justified treatment, his friends betray him and his unsatifactory existence is nothing more that bruises and broken bones. Overall a great book and movie, i wish you a happy night, O my brothers
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Clockwork Orange - Making You Tick 5 Jan 2003
Firstly, let me just say that Burgess' invention of "futuristic teenage slang" 'nadsat' is, if a little draining at times, brilliantly used. Once you've established the various meanings (i.e. viddy means see, gulliver means head etc)you can really start to get into it. The use of nadsat whilst describing violence means that situations are portrayed in such a way as to inspire a certain sense of revulsion without making you want to put the book down.
It gives you an insight into a mind which rates Beethoven and Mozart up there with rape and ultra-violence, showing that a mind can be highly educated and yet at the same time still be to a degree depraved and dangerous.
I recommend this to anybody who wants a book to make them think and at the same time enjoy some good horror.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it 17 Nov 2010
I loved this book. It was thought provoking and very interesting.
The way that Burgess created language at first confused me but as you continue reading you start to pick up on the language, which I found very strange but interesting. The reason I picked up this book in the first place was because a friend of mine recommended it but also because we were talking about it in one of my psychology lessons. The reason was that this book is to do with behaviorism. You wouldn't, perhaps, have thought this when first reading the back of the book but it was very thought provoking and definetely made me think.
I would definetely reccommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am young but not for ever... 28 Mar 2000
By A Customer
The first thing that came to my mind was Stanley Kubrick, even though i have never seen his famous movie. I just could not help it... But as i was going further through the book i found that the main character, Alex, was more than a simple character. He was the representation of a helpless youth. I must admit i suffered when reading this book, not only because of the inventive vocabulary Burgess uses but also because of the fact that i was lead to feel some sympathy towards Alex being a monster. If you like society critics then you will love this book . Highly recommended for each one of us for more than a book it is a lesson about life...
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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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