A Clockwork Orange
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Great Music, it said, and Great Poetry would like quieten Modern Youth down and make Modern Youth more Civilized. Civilized my syphilised yarbles.A vicious fifteen-year-old droog is the central character of this 1963 classic. In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. When the state undertakes to reform Alex to "redeem" him, the novel asks, "At what cost?" This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition and Burgess's introduction "A Clockwork Orange Resucked."
- Amazon Sales Rank: #4336 in Books
- Brand: W W Norton Company
- Published on: 1995-04-17
- Original language: English
- Number of items: 1
- Dimensions: 8.30" h x .70" w x 5.50" l, .43 pounds
- Binding: Paperback
- 213 pages
- W W Norton Company
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. After his youthful adventures of raping and pillaging, Alex finds himself in prison. When he volunteers for an experiment, his sentence is commuted to two weeks. The experiment leaves him physically incapable of doing wrong and releases him back into the world. However, when he repeatedly runs into people he has wronged in the past, his real suffering begins. This audiobook gives new life to Burgess's tale of recklessly violent youth, free will and true redemption. While Malcolm McDowell forever infused viewers with the look of Alex in the film, Tom Hollander performs an even more amazing feat. With a smooth, almost lyrical, crisp voice, Hollander delivers Burgess's nadsat dialect to readers with such rhythmic cadence that listeners will easily understand the extensive slang used throughout the book. This unabridged production also includes the 21st chapter, which was not dramatized in the film or in the book's original U.S. publication. The audiobook opens with a brief note by Burgess on living with the book's legacy. The final CD features selected readings by Burgess from a previous recorded abridged version. While it's interesting to hear the older and gruffer voice, it does not compare to Hollander's performance. A Penguin paperback. (July)
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*Starred Review* It may be a sign of a great work that it can be misinterpreted by detractors and proponents alike. Contemporary readers who saw Burgess’ 1962 dystopian novel as a celebration of youth violence were as far off base as the teens since then who have thrilled to the transgressive violence it—or, at least, Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation—depicts. But paradox is at the heart of this book, as this newly restored, fiftieth-anniversary edition makes more clear than ever. Narrated by Alex, a teenage dandy who revels in language (he speaks a slang called Nadsat), music (especially Bach and Beethoven), and violence, especially violence. When imprisoned for murder, he is offered a chance at reform and leaps at it—but the reform turns out to be brainwashing, an aversion therapy that, alas, leaves him able to enjoy neither beatings nor Beethoven. Upon his release he becomes first a victim of his victims, then a cause célèbre of antigovernment activists before . . . well, publishers offered different endings to British and American audiences, as readers will discover here. What makes A Clockwork Orange so challenging, besides the language (“He looked a malenky bit poogly when he viddied the four of us”), is Burgess’ willingness to use an unsympathetic protagonist to make his point, which is essentially that it may be better to choose evil than to be forced to be good. (For, as it is put by two different characters: “When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man.”) Readers can revisit or discover a classic that, while drawing from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock, has in turn influenced authors from Irvine Welsh to Suzanne Collins. Extras include a thoughtful introduction by editor Andrew Biswell, reproductions of manuscript pages annotated by Burgess, and a previously unpublished chapter of a book that was to have been called The Clockwork Condition, in which Burgess intended to set the record straight about his intentions now that Kubrick’s film adaptation had made him famous. Readers will learn much, including the meaning behind the book’s title. All in all, a fitting publication of a book that remains just as shocking and thought provoking as ever. --Keir Graff
“A brilliant novel... a savage satire on the distortions of the single and collective minds.”
- New York Times
“Looks like a nasty little shocker, but is really that rare thing in English letters: a philosophical novel.”
“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 S. Burroughs
“A terrifying and marvelous book.”
- Roald Dahl
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
Not for the faint of heart... but that's not a bad thing.
By Mr. Kunz
I love this book. It gives a realistic view of the future, and it's possible darker societal changes that can be seen today, roughly 50 years after the book was first published. It includes the british ending, which is the way the book is supposed to end, compared to the lesser philosophical Kubrick ending that the U.S. was initially given. I will read this book dozens of times over, just because i enjoy Alex's charismatic and vulgar demeanor to provide more depth, reality, and complexity than anything found in modern media's characterization of the rebellious teenager. The story criticizes socialism, democracy at times, meanwhile pointing out our flaws as human beings to appreciate the arts of past generations, with just the right amount of satirical humor to keep the reader invested. It's a hard book to read, yet i challenge you to put it down after reading the first page. This book is a work of art. Thank you Anthony Burgess
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
is amazing. The Kubrik movie holds fairly true to the ...
By Clyde R. Lowry Jr.
I've recently started reading 'the classics' for which I've only ever seen the movie and this one my brothers, is amazing.
The Kubrik movie holds fairly true to the book, except for the ending, which I won't spoil it for anybody who hasn't read it yet. I am left scratching my head, as to why Kubrik left out the final chapter - he had to have had access to the UK version of the book. While the movie has always been a favorite of mine, I feel the addition of the final chapter would have made it even better. It adds a whole new twist to the story and a depth to the Alex character that almost makes him human.
One word of warning though ... the book is heavy with rhyming slang, and some unusual words and phrases lifted from the Russian language: gavoreeting == talking, which is pretty close to the actual Russian word for speak (I never thought my High School Russian classes would come in helpful).
If you have any ability for language it shouldn't take more than the 1st couple of chapters to start understanding the nadsat slang Alex and his droogs use.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
A wonderful, weird tale
By The Little Brit
A wonderful, weird tale. Perhaps the ultimate "Coming of Age" novel. In a wry, funny, very direct and violent fashion, both in the words he uses and the scenes he describes, Burgess has painted a disturbing, but somehow moving story of disaffected (very) youth in a future city that could be yours.
It's worth the effort to translate the few words used of the "Nadsat" language, invented by Burgess, as you read this story in order to fully appreciate the various layers that the author has woven into his short but rich tale and those of of a dystopian and highly dysfunctional future. His implied and direct criticisms of modern government, society at large and the church are hilariously chilling. After having read this book at least four times now, it has moved up my list of favorites to be close to the top by now. It gets better and deeper with each read. Make sure you get a version which includes the "last" chapter, which was omitted in the otherwise quite good Kubrick movie of the same title.