A Clockwork Orange

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)


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A novel by A. Burgess, published in 1962. Set in the near future, it is the first‐person narration of Alex, who recounts his life from the age of 15 as leader of a gang of thugs to his emergence from State Jail 84F after a period of experimental aversion therapy which has left him unable to enjoy his former pleasures of rape, assault, and listening to Beethoven while indulging in fantasies of crime. Written in what Alex calls ‘nadsat’, which is a brilliantly inventive mix of neologisms and archaisms, the novel conjures up a lawless, dystopian world of youth violence and institutional mind‐manipulation in which Alex eventually comes to see himself as a self‐pitying victim. The novel was adapted by Stanley Kubrick (1971), who later withdrew his film for disputed reasons, connected to allegations that it acted as an incitement to violence.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards).

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Anthony Burgess (1917—1993) writer and composer