Read A Clockwork Orange – The International Anthony Burgess Foundation

A Clockwork Orange is a dystopian satirical black comedy novella by English writer Anthony Burgess, published in 1962. It is set in a near-future society that has a youth subculture of extreme violence. The teenage protagonist, Alex, narrates his violent exploits and his experiences with state authorities intent on reforming him.[1] The book is partially written in a Russian-influenced argot called “Nadsat“, which takes its name from the Russian suffix that is equivalent to ‘-teen’ in English.[2] According to Burgess, the novel was a jeu d’esprit written in just three weeks.

A Clockwork Orange (Novel) by Wikipedia


Although I saw A Clockwork Orange years ago, I had never read Burgess’ book. I was intrigued by the two versions, US and British. Although I agreed with leaving off the ‘final chapter’ of Picnic at Hanging Rock where Lindsay explained what happened with the girls travelling through a hole in space, I am not sure if I missed something, but I thought that original version where the book ends with the narrator settling down asked more questions than ending with . It all makes me appreciate the achievement of Stanley Kubrick more and more.

There are so many aspects to reflect upon, whether it be the classical music, the violence, the aversion therapy, the use of language.

Upon its release, A Clockwork Orange received mixed reviews. While some complained about its violence and language, others noted that the novel raised important ethical questions, such as whether it is better for a person to decide to be bad than to be forced to be good and if forcibly suppressing free will is acceptable.

A Clockwork Orange by Britannica

Marginalia

But, brothers, this biting of their toe-nails over what is the cause of badness is what turns me into a fine laughing malchick. They don’t go into what is the cause of goodness, so why of the other shop? If lewdies are good that’s because they like it, and I wouldn’t ever interfere with their pleasures, and so of the other shop. And I was patronizing the other shop. More, badness is of the self, the one, the you or me on our oddy knockies, and that self is made by old Bog or God and is his great pride and radosty. But the not-self cannot have the bad, meaning they of the government and the judges and the schools cannot allow the bad because they cannot allow the self. And is not our modern history, my brothers, the story of brave malenky selves fighting these big machines? I am serious with you, brothers, over this. But what I do I do because I like to do.