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A Clockwork Orange (Norton Critical Editions) [Paperback]

Anthony Burgess , Mark Rawlinson
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 4, 2011 0393928098 978-0393928099 Reprint

“A brilliant novel . . . a savage satire on the distortions of the single and collective minds.” —New York Times

“Anthony Burgess has written what looks like a nasty little shocker, but is really that rare thing in English letters: a philosophical novel.” —Time

A terrifying tale about good and evil and the meaning of human freedom, A Clockwork Orange became an instant classic when it was published in 1962 and has remained so ever since. Anthony Burgess takes us on a journey to a nightmarish future where sociopathic criminals rule the night. Brilliantly told in harsh invented slang by the novel’s main character and merciless droog, fifteen-year-old Alex, this influential novel is now available in a student edition.

The Norton Critical Edition of A Clockwork Orange is based on the first British edition and includes Burgess’s original final chapter. It is accompanied by Mark Rawlinson’s preface, explanatory annotations, and textual notes. A glossary of the Russian-origin terms that inspired Alex’s dialect is provided to illustrate the process by which Burgess arrived at the distinctive style of this novel.

“Backgrounds and Contexts” presents a wealth of materials chosen by the editor to enrich the reader’s understanding of this unforgettable work, many of them by Burgess himself. Burgess’s views on writing A Clockwork Orange, its philosophical issues, and the debates over the British edition versus the American edition and the novel versus the film adaptation are all included. Related writings that speak to some of the novel’s central issues—youthful style, behavior modification, and art versus morality—are provided by Paul Rock and Stanley Cohen, B. F. Skinner, John R. Platt, Joost A. M. Meerloo, William Sargent, and George Steiner.

“Criticism” is divided into two sections, one addressing the novel and the other Stanley Kubrick’s film version. Five major reviews of the novel are reprinted along with a wide range of scholarly commentary, including, among others, David Lodge on the American reader; Julie Carson on linguistic invention; Zinovy Zinik on Burgess and the Russian language; Geoffrey Sharpless on education, masculinity, and violence; Shirley Chew on circularity; Patrick Parrinder on dystopias; Robbie B. H. Goh on language and social control; and Steven M. Cahn on freedom. A thorough analysis of the film adaptation of A Clockwork Orange is provided in reviews by Vincent Canby, Pauline Kael, and Christopher Ricks; in Philip Strick and Penelope Houston’s interview with Stanley Kubrick; and in interpretive essays by Don Daniels, Alexander Walker, Philip French, Thomas Elsaesser, Tom Dewe Mathews, and Julian Petley.

A Selected Bibliography is also included.

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Editorial Reviews

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.

Mark Rawlinson is Senior Lecturer at the University of Leicester. His books include British Writing of the Second World War, Pat Barker, The Second World War in British Fiction Since 1945, and Camouflage: Modern War and Visual Culture.

Product Details

  • Series: Norton Critical Editions
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (January 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393928098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393928099
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle version cheats you October 10, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just so you know, the Kindle version of the Norton edition is just the novel and Burgess' intro. It doesn't contain the supplementary materials that make a Norton edition valuable to have.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Puts a smile on your litso December 30, 2011
Format:Paperback
Well oh my little brothers, patient and tolerant though I may be, I just couldn't help but have a malenky smeck at some of the grazhny customer reviews by the like indignant vecks and ptitsas here. Like the starry ptitsa who creeches about the like excessive ultraviolence, saying this is not her idea of "entertainment". Personally droogies, I find Burgess's ingenious creation of a whole new vernacular language and youth subculture to be hilariously horrorshow entertaining. The more specific point the naysayers miss is that Burgess is using the violence merely as a vehicle to pose some deep moral questions about the nature of morality and the seeming impossibility of expunging violence from the human soul. A lot of reviewers are also falling into the trap of thinking that Burgess intended merely to shock or to sensationalise, which couldn't be further from the truth. His tongue is very firmly in cheek. Persevere through the first chapter or so and the nadsat becomes strangely "right", somehow enhancing the realness of the world Burgess creates. 4 stars rather than five only because of a redemption story in the final chapter which doesn't quite fit. Nevertheless, this remains a courageous and darkly comedic philosophical masterpiece which will reward those willing to push through the intimidating language.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Clockwork Orange April 4, 2012
Format:Paperback
I almost feel like somethings wrong with me for not liking this book; it seems to be overwhelmingly popular. And it does have some good points, but I just couldn't get into the book. Nor did I think it was absolutely brilliant. It was good, but not to my taste.

Alex is in a gang that roams the streets at night, causing mischief and mayhem. They strike terror into those who meet up with them and are capable of causing great violence. But when Alex gets caught his life changes drastically. And after a few years in prison he is offered the chance to go free again, but only if he submits to a new experiment the government wants to try out. Not realizing what he'd be giving up, he goes for it, and discovers what its like to have choice taken away from you.

I personally didn't think Alex suffered enough. Actually I think he gets off pretty easy throughout the book. So the message involving Alex and free will and such didn't really get through to me. Although I don't really think I'm for a souped up government for thinking that way. Alex just isn't a compassionate character, its part of his design. And since I would never think like the majority of the characters in this book, I just can't connect to any of them. I can't even muster compassion for the victims because of the way it's written. Alex's friends are second to him so we don't really get to know them too well, aside from being partners in his mayhem.

The writing is absolutely off the wall. I was so frustrated within the first few chapters that I almost decided to set it down and leave it alone for awhile. But then I came across a certain word, "okno" and something clicked in my brain. And I realized that a lot of the "slang" was actually Russian.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This has a higher star-rating, as at least one (and probably more) used this area to inappropriately complain about "not receiving the book" which is a mercantile problem Use the A-Z Guarantee system. The book is five star: read it, read a few essays so you'll appreciate it's brilliance, and write a book, NOT service review. Please join me in reporting all such misplace criticisms as "inappropriate.

Amazon, remove them, please - they pollute you otherwise very useful review system!!!!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read January 25, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you're a fan of the movie then this is definitely all the more worthwhile. It adds a whole new depth to Alex that is missed in the movie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A real horrorshow book, my droogies! December 17, 2013
Format:Paperback
Man, oh man. Why did I wait this long to read this?

This is one of the most brilliant books I have ever read. Ingenious in the way it is written, executed, and created. Anthony Burgess created a fascinating, gruesome world, in which he sucks you right in leaving you feeling sick to your stomach but intrigued nonetheless. He created an entirely new language, confusing you and entertaining you all at the same time. I was at first very confused and put off with the lingo used, and it was hard deciphering all the words and making sense of it, but soon enough you get the hang of it and you start to enjoy reading and decoding it. Like the book cover said, it will take you no more than fifteen pages to get used to the language.

Our honorable narrator, fifteen year old, Alex is an ultraviolent hooligan who goes around with his droogies (gang) causing havoc around town every night. Beating people up (no matter the age and gender), thieving, raping, and ultimately, killing. Violence is in his blood, he can't help himself.

But Alex does have one weakness, and that is classical music. Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and the like transport him to a completely different world, demonstrating a much softer side to this violent criminal.

When Alex is set up and betrayed by his droogies and is caught by the millicents (a.k.a police) and is locked up in prison, he thinks his life is over. Two years in however, he attempts to stay on his best behaviour with the hope he can leave sooner than intended - that is until he is set up once again, this time by his droogies in prison, and is blamed for the death of one of the prisoners.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful edition
The value of this product is twofold: not only is it a magnificent book, it is also the best edition of it, as it contains an extremely rich paratext, including essays, reviews,... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Susana Gutt
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book...except for the last chapter
In this book about an out-of-control near-future, young Alex is a cynical and violent young man, living in England. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Kurt A. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars A Clockwork Orange
"The important thing is moral choice. Evil has to exist along with good, in order that moral choice may operate. Life is sustained by the grinding opposition of moral entities". Read more
Published 22 months ago by Andreea C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Dear Jesus!
Favorite book of all time. It's so dark and morbid yet so light and human. It is the perfect metaphor for life, humanity, civilization, love and just about everything else you can... Read more
Published on February 26, 2012 by Greyhound
4.0 out of 5 stars A Look into the Future
This review is from: A Clockwork Orange (Norton Critical Editions) (Paperback)
This novel is as relevant today as it was when it was first written. Read more
Published on February 5, 2012 by sf
4.0 out of 5 stars very horrorshow for the glassies
Many who are familiar with the movie are probably not as familiar with the fact that the movie version was not exactly accurate - specifically in the ending. Read more
Published on November 18, 2011 by Carol Ann Brannigan
5.0 out of 5 stars Tick-Tock
I own a few copies of this text, but for class was required to purchase this edition. I <3 Norton anyway (if only they would get on the Kindle), and this is no exception. Read more
Published on September 24, 2011 by Smokiechick
4.0 out of 5 stars Memories of the Movie
I remember coming across this movie several years ago as a teeneager, while just flipping channels. At the time, I knew nothing about it. However, over these past ? Read more
Published on August 21, 2011 by Van
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Welcome to the A Clockwork Orange forum
It's been quite a while since I read this book. I do remember it was a fun read. I read the quote from William S. Burroughs listed here at amazon.com:

"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... Read More
Nov 5, 2005 by AmyStar |  See all 8 posts
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