A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange

by Anthony Burgess
4.5 405

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A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

"Anthony Burgess reads chapters of his novel A Clockwork Orange with hair-raising drive and energy. Although it is a fantasy set in an Orwellian future, this is anything but a bedtime story." -The New York Times

Told by the central character, Alex, this brilliant, hilarious, and disturbing novel creates an alarming futuristic vision of violence, high technology, and authoritarianism. Anthony Burgess' 1963 classic stands alongside Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World as a classic of twentieth century post-industrial alienation, often shocking us into a thoughtful exploration of the meaning of free will and the conflict between good and evil. In this recording, the author's voice lends an intoxicating lyrical dimension to the language he has so masterfully crafted.

"I do not know of any other writer who has done as much with language as Mr. Burgess has done [in A Clockwork Orange]." -William S. Burroughs

Recognized as one of the literary geniuses of our time, Anthony Burgess produced thirty-two novels, a volume of verse, sixteen works of nonfiction, and two plays. Originally a composer, his creative output also included countless musical compositions, including symphonies, operas, and jazz. The author's musicality is evident in the lyrical and dramatic reading he gives in this recording. Anthony Burgess died in 1993.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393305531
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 08/28/1988
Edition description: New American Edition
Product dimensions: 3.03(w) x 3.03(h) x (d)

About the Author

Anthony Burgess (1917–1993) is the author of many works, including A Clockwork Orange, The Wanting Seed, Nothing Like the Sun, Honey for the Bears, The Long Day Wanes, The Doctor Is Sick, and ReJoyce.

Andrew Biswell, PhD, is the author of The Real Life of Anthony Burgess.

What People are Saying About This

Roald Dahl

A terrifying and marvelous book.

Roald Dahl

A terrifying and marvelous book.
—(Roald Dahl)

William S. Burroughs

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)

Irvine Welsh

One of the most groundbreaking and influential novels of all time—and one of the best.

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A Clockwork Orange (Norton Critical Edition) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 405 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book goes after some truly weighty subjects in a short time frame. Burgess tells the story of his narrator, Alex, who is a clearly intelligent young man who has focused his youthful talents on setting out each night to terrorize the innocent citizens of a futuristic London.
The book is famous for Burgess' heavy use of a made-up slang that a committed reader will pick up quickly using context clues. It actually serves to focus your attention on the book rather than as a distraction. Further, Burgess uses the slang to differentiate groups of characters within the book and, in some of the book's most interesting moments, one side of a character from another side within himself. The dichotomies created are very clear without being ham-fisted. Very well done.
Burgess really creates a gritty, enveloping sense of place and mood as Alex and his pals meander through the city. As the reader, you simultaneously feel their sense of power (empty though it may be) and the victim's sense of fear and helplessness. Another great exploration of the duality of character within each of us, and yet this is still just a warm up for the main event!
The story hits its peak once Alex is sold out by his pals and captured by the police (who aren't really good guys). Alex volunteers/is chosen for a new procedure which will "cure" him of his evil tendencies. The scenes of brainwashing that follow are wonderfully crafted and this whole segment of the book artfully asks whether it is better to have a choice between good and evil when only a portion of us will choose good, or whether it is better for all of us to be good even at the cost of our free will. It's a tremendous look at freedom vs. authoritarianism in all its forms.
As Alex is released back into the world, we see the flip side of his original self, someone incapable of any form of evil. The string of events that follows brings up as many penetrating questions for the reader as any other portion of the book. Alex finishes (if you get a book with the 21st chapter - make sure you do) slightly older, with more perspective on his situation.
A book about the two sides, we all have within us and the freedom some of us have, and some of us lack to let the two sides out. Highly recommended, you can see why this one has stood the test of time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The reason I started reading this was because someone gave me a shirt with Stewie from Family Guy dressed as Alex, not know that was who he was potraying. Anyway, one of my teachers recognized it and told me I shouldn't read the book or watch the movie because of it's content. I didn't listen- I was too intreged- and went out and got the book. I am so glad I did what I did. I read it cover to cover, then read it again. I was so shocked at the boldness and brilliance of a simple novel- scratch that, it's not simple at all. It is riviting. I am still only a child- a teenager, if you will- and I have to say this is probably going to be one of my all time favorite books. The use of the slang, Nadsat, is quite clever and even catchy. After reading it, I spoke in mild Nadsat for quite a while- I still am. Anyway, this is a near perfect novel. I absolutly love it. It is even shocking. A warning, though- this is not a book for the faint at heart. If you can't take some graphic sence and brutal honesty without a trace of shame to be told (sometimes), I will not suggest you partake in this literary adventure. For everyone else, read the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A book potent with unchecked violence, A Clockwork Orange addresses the need of the presence of evil in order for good to exist. Alex, the epitome of such malevolence, is a barbaric character that captures the essence of a criminal's need to instill fear and harm in others. As the story unfolds, Alex's moral choice is ripped away via classical conditioning: music, in which he once found a twisted pleasure, causes him physical pain instead, preventing him from unleashing any more harm on his fellow human beings. Despite his apparent 'treatment', Alex is still thrust into malignant situations. Written by a prominent Catholic, the book depicts an absence of religion and morals in a future society. By doing so, Anthony Burgess directly answers a question asked by many: if a god exists, why does he permit the world to live in such an evil state? He insists that man needs to have the choice of doing something right in order for it to be done in pure righteousness. Religious views aside, many people would be able to get into reading this book. The language is unlike any other written before it, as the criminal youth speak in a fictional dialogue that depicts their unrefined, savage nature. The manner in which life is governed in the book, whether bullied by Alex and his 'droogs' or the government's unethical rehabilitation of criminals, raises questions about the treatment of others. Despite the sometimes-disturbing images in this book, I definitely recommend this book to those who wish to read in order to gain something. A Clockwork Orange has much to offer.
Underdog92 More than 1 year ago
I have currently started a list of books that I want to read before I die. The list includes many classics as well as books that I have read or am fond of reading. When I picked this book up and read the introduction by Mr. Bugess, I was immediately sucked in by his speech on morality. After reading this book, I can say nothing but wow. Honestly, I am not sure if I have ever read a book like A Clockwork Orange. It stretches the mind and opens one's eyes to the luxuries of free will. Definately a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was shocked at first at the honesty of this book. But after I got past this and learned the language which is a bit rough, I went on an incredible journey. First, questioning the innocence of youth and then hating the "solution" to the problem. I was very thankful for the happy ending and cannot imagine the book without its 21st chapter. I have no idea what the orginal American publisher was thinking by not including it. This book becomes a great story in its last chapter.
Maris_Stella More than 1 year ago
I read this book in college after a friend's recommendation. He was also a fan of Phil Dick, who was the topic of discussion for writing dark, futuristic dystopias. This story was in a similar theme. It was a difficult at first, but then I remembered that I took a class in Russian - which helped with the slang then it was a quick read. I enjoyed the pace and matter of fact storytelling from the main character. He is a complete sociopath and his reformation is just as disturbing as his criminal lifestyle.
japhyryder More than 1 year ago
A Clockwork Orange I had mixed feeling about this book. Seeing the film before reading the novel, I had an idea of what I was getting myself into. But the book was a lot more detailed and explicit then I remembered from the film. Some pretty brutal and nasty scenes where left out of the film for obvious reasons. This was the reason I disliked the book, it took my mind to places I didn¿t want to go. It took me into to the mind of a sick a demented character, and author. But as I got used to the sick and disturbing visuals this book described, it got easier to read without crenching. Another part of the book that I found hard to get used to was the slang he used. I had to keep on turning to my ¿Word Guide to A Clockwork Orange¿ everytime I came across a word I didn¿t know, and there was a lot of them. It got easier as I read on, because I was getting to know some of the vocabular and was able to fill in the blanks when I came across foreign words. So without the guide it can be a difficult read, unless you are fluent in Russian or Slavic slang, and Burgessian. As I got deeper in the book I realized why this work was so popular. I could see the artfulness in his writing, using controversial subject matter to get a specific point across. Taking the reader into a place that some of us forget about, a place of violence and madness where some think that it¿s okay. And how through disciplinary techniques some lose the freedom to choose and are forced to change. But with time, we all grow up and make the right decision to do so. The questional material in the book mixed with the underlining, but somewhat hidden message, it has, leaves my gladly sick that I have read it.
Sybil More than 1 year ago
From it's first publishing in 1962 to now, A Clockwork Orange has become one of the most infamous satirical novels to emerge from Twentieth Century literature. From it's violent context, moral ambiguity, and it's slang; the novel was bound to be misunderstood especially due to it's timely publication. The novel, in likes of Eugene Zamiatin's We and Orwell's 1984, sets a very dystopian look of the future. The novel's protagonist/antihero is Alex, the leader of a gang of four "droogies". At night the gang sets out doing a number of amoral activities that would make most eyes pop if it weren't for the crude satirical humor that Burgess peppers the text with. The book also contains quite a bit of sly commentary on public institutions and those that abide by and/or oppose it. The doctors supposedly "curing" Alex, Alex's parents, and etc. all seem to follow a fine line of orthodoxy without much contemplation. Much like Kafka, Burgess outlines the absurdity of hollow traditional values and there negative affects. The main message of the story mostly lies on Alex. In that although Alex actions reflect violence and sexual debauchery, he seems to be the only one to make a involved moral decision in his life. Not one based off religion, political associations, or money, but because he likes it. While any of his decision are hard to relate to, he remains to be the freest man in the story. Anthony Burgess may have enjoyed writing his other novels, but A Clockwork Orange is definitely his most effective and critically-acclaimed work. Also Another Note: The last chapter was omitted until 1986, long after the Kubrick film was released.
Equality_72521 More than 1 year ago
A great novel, filled with an unusual language based on russian slang (be ready to use your context clues) A clockwork orange begs the question if good is not a moral choice, then is it actually good, or just as bad as actually being evil? You take a dive into the mind of a young hoodlum, Alex who leads a gang of misbehaving droogs. Alex finds little in life he loves and destroys other peoples lives. A major theme in this book is music. Beethoven's 9th symphony is the actual structure of this book. read the chorus of the ninth before you read the book, it is very interesting. also, read the introduction, many people don't, but you will get a lot more out of the book. Also, the book is very different than the movie. overall, this book is a good read. lots of people find it disturbing, and at points it is, but stomach past it and look at the underlying message of freewill and moral choices.
CZurita More than 1 year ago
What an interesting experience it was to read this novel! When I first picked up A Clockwork Orange, I had already heard a few things about it. First, that the book contains graphic scenes and violence. And second, that the language in the novel is difficult to get used to. Both are true and both are crucial to the merit of the novel as a whole. With respect to the violence of the main character and his "droogs," I found meaning for these actions in the curiosity towards their motives that I subsequently developed. Why are the characters so incessant in committing acts of violence? Do they openly flout the moral codes of society or are they unaware that such a moral code exists? How has society come to be this way? These unanswered questions are what catapult you through the pages as you continue to listen to Alex, your "friend and humble narrator," continue with his story. As far as the language in concerned, do not allow yourself to be intimidated by the first page. Consider it a puzzle to be solved with the surrounding contexts and through you own perception. I must warn you of becoming frustrated with not knowing the meaning to all the slang terms spoken in the novel. Do NOT merely give up and go searching on the internet for the slang dictionary as you would not go searching for the answer key to a crossword puzzle after you encounter a question that you do not know. Instead, persevere so that ultimately the novel holds both meaning and pleasure in solving the puzzle. Reading this novel is like immersing yourself into a whole new world. Learn as you go and enjoy your discoveries as you finally uncover the underlying moral truths hidden in both the title, A Clockwork Orange, and the story itself. All in all, I wholeheartedly recommend this book to any reader that is up for the challenge.
Droog More than 1 year ago
This classical book, written by the recognized author Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange is a futuristic novel about violence and how people have the power to change. This novel is based on the protagonist Alex which lives in a futuristic and complex society where violence is widely present. Alex is the leader of a gang that consists of George, Pete and Dim. They lurk the night and commit violent acts such as stealing, robbing stores, hitting and harassing people. The people that live in the city consider them the evil and fear of the gloomy night. It all becomes more interesting as one day they plan to go and steal an old woman's house that supposedly had many valuable objects and jewelry. Alex goes in first and beats up this old woman rather bad and suddenly he hears the police sirens. He rushes through the door to find his friends ditched him and he is left alone and captured by the brute police force. At jail he finds out that the old lady he beat up died moments later and that he is forced to serve 14 years in jail. Alex fits right in jail and does not change a bit and when he has this big fight in his cell with a new prisoner and this prisoner dies is when it just gets more appealing. Alex is offered a new treatment where he would be released in about 1 week, without hesitation he takes this new treatment. This program consists of conditioning Alex to feel disgust whenever he is presented with violence so he is shown films of violence and given meds to make him feel sick. After all this, Alex is ready to go out to the world again but what will happen to him if he cant commit violence or even defend himself as he feels sick. They have taken choice from him and he is left alone to this complex society and the rest is for you to find out if you read the book. What I enjoyed when reading this novel where many things such as the language and the actual plot of the story. The language that Anthony uses throughout is impressive and makes you get more absorbed with the book. The language he uses is what he calls in the book the Nadsat Slang, which consists of over 100 words that he uses which are invented and has a translation. One example is Droogs - Friends and Litso - Face. This slang makes you feel part of this society as if you were taken to another place. Another thing I enjoyed greatly was the deepening plot that sucks you into reading and reading continuously. Every chapter ends with finales that force you to keep reading to find out what will happen. In the other hand, I also enjoyed the setting of the book that makes you think of a different type of society where it is filled with violence and depression and it helps you get into the book. Finally, I hope that you get to read this illustrious novel and get to appreciate it just as much as I did and so you can find out what happened to poor Alex.
tiffanyfh More than 1 year ago
I might not know much about literature, or Anthony's philosophical views. But I do know that I'm a teenager who encounters all this so called "drama" and "backstabbing". My life is, of course, not as brutal as Alex's, but if you think about it, most kids my age posses that kind of...Hostility, towards life and people surrounding them. I'm only 15 years old, and all I hear is; My, did you hear about those kids who raped and murdered that woman?! Where's justice? Fairness?! For the love of God! What's wrong with these kids?!? I hear this all the time, adults stop and stare at me in horror, thinking I want to skin them or something, ridiculous! Two months ago, two of my friends plotted, and almost succeeded in killing one of their parents, you might have heard it in the news, Eric Stone. It makes me sick knowing that I sat next to them in class. I knew their motives. Silly! No one ever believed they would do such a thing. I know this is supposed to be a review for the book, but guess we could call this "a second point of view", it's scary how close to reality Anthony came. I mean, I do wear the highest of fashions amongst my droogs, and luckily, I'm no one of the many psychotic teenagers out there, but I can guarantee you, I'm one of their best friends. Either way, amazing book. Beautiful slang. As real as it gets.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The entire book was stunning. All the literary elements flow to create a clear, timeless picture of a chaotic future. It is parable of free will that will have you thinking, questioning, and empathizing with it's protagnist (Alex).
Anonymous 3 months ago
Great read and still relevant
JimRGill2012 3 months ago
Whether or not you consider this a nihilist novel all depends on whether you read the final (21st) chapter, which was omitted from the novel’s American edition when it was originally published. Then again, even after reading the 21st chapter, whether or not you consider this a nihilist novel could depend on your interpretation of that final chapter (sincere? ironic? deceptive? unreliable?). This intentionally ambiguous conclusion tops off the careful structure of the novel, which is divided into three sections, with the first and third providing mirrored bookends to the center section. In the first section, Alex (or Your Humble Narrator) and his droogs (who all speak a slang vernacular called Nadsat) wreak havoc among their community—attacking and beating a library patron, committing robbery, rape, and other heinous crimes. In the second section, Alex—after being arrested and imprisoned—undergoes a radical form of rehabilitation that conditions him against violence. In section three, Alex is released from prison after having been allegedly cured of his violent disposition. He then encounters all the victims of the crimes he committed in the first section. Throughout, Alex comments on the vapid meaninglessness of the world—his response to which will inform your understanding of the novel’s central themes, which in turn depends upon that final chapter. This novel has earned its reputation as a contemporary classic, if a book published more than 50 years ago can be considered contemporary. Its profundity eclipses its brief length (barely more than 200 pages); nihilistic or not, *A Clockwork Orange* confronts you with frightening questions about the human capacity for violence and human nature itself.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Not worth the time. Find another book.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Where is the dictionary? I originally read "A Clockwork Orange" on iBooks, the book I read was subsequently removed from iBooks along with all my original notes. The book I read included a dictionary. How is this restored when it is missing the 21st chapter? The introduction by the author himself is also missing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed reading this book. It took me a little bit to understand all the slang, but I got the hang of it. I did not expect how the extra chapter was going to go the way it did. Now I want to watch the movie!
KellyMoreno18 More than 1 year ago
Anthony Burgess’ widely acclaimed dystopian novel, A Clockwork Orange, is one that leaves the reader shocked, terrified, and even at times disgusted. It is an intense page turner, nonetheless, and chronicles the life of crime and redemption of a 15 year old psychopath named Alex. Burgess is very effective in presenting the reader such a complex character as Alex. He is so young, yet already so powerful and filled with a desire to do evil. Something particularly interesting about this novel is the use of a fictional language that Alex and his “droogs” created called nadsat. I recommend reading this novel through more than once or at least very thoroughly at first, because the language is very complex and can easily confuse the reader. Alex is also a fan of “ultraviolence,” such as gruesome beatings. rape and eventually even murder. To this day, I question why this was a concept Burgess’ wanted to tackle, but it seems apparent that he did it as the simplest example of the novel’s title; Alex himself is a clockwork orange: his exterior is charming, and unassuming, but on the inside he is merely a strange and tortured clockwork toy to be wound up again by the same moralistic force. He is what he fears most, a plain individual with no superiority, intellectually or physically, over anyone, really. And this is what Burgess’ is able to capture so beautifully and horrifyingly with A Clockwork Orange: the essence of a human soul.
ShayBishop More than 1 year ago
Have you ever read a book in which the first page made you close it up and never set eyes on it again? If so, you may have been taking the time to attempt reading A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. However, if you are curious, as I am, you may have continued on in hopes that you may warm up to the novel. The initial deal breaker of the novel would be Burgess’s usage of a language known as Nadsat. In the novel, it is said to be spoken by the younger generation in the times in which the book was written in. If you choose to delve into the novel and give it a fair chance, you will learn to understand and love the language of Nadsat which is used throughout the entire story. I, though being skeptical at first, grew to love A Clockwork Orange and the various messages it conveyed. It showed life from a different perspective. By holding Alex’s hand throughout the story, you get a vivid story of what life was like for an extremely violent young teen of his time. You get to see what was viewed to be just punishment for such like one and what its true affect can have. You’ll learn to love and hate Alex as you enter this rollercoaster of events that are never likely and to be expected. I give Anthony Burgess two thumbs up for his bravery in presenting to the public a novel that is like no other. He wasn’t afraid to stand out or have his writing rejected. He knew that some would like it and most would not. I say A Clockwork Orange is one of the best books I have ever read; and, on an easy day like today, I will take the tie to crack the book open and dive in again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can someone please tell me if the copy has the 21st chapter. If not I would apreciate help locating a copy with the 21st chapter included.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank you jadeheart she bows her head padding back with her kit