ISBN-10:
0393928098
ISBN-13:
9780393928099
Pub. Date:
12/20/2010
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
A Clockwork Orange: A Norton Critical Edition

A Clockwork Orange: A Norton Critical Edition

by Anthony Burgess, Mark Rawlinson
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Overview

“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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393928099
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 12/20/2010
Series: Norton Critical Editions Series
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 164,573
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Anthony Burgess (1917–1993) is the author of many works, including The Wanting Seed, Nothing Like the Sun, and Re Joyce. A Clockwork Orange is one of the "100 best novels" of both Time magazine and Modern Library and is on David Bowie's Book List.

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.

What People are Saying About This

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)

Roald Dahl

A terrifying and marvelous book.
—(Roald Dahl)

Customer Reviews

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A Clockwork Orange: A Norton Critical Edition 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
joririchardson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Upon beginning this strange piece of literature, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it, and upon finishing it, I am still wavering between puzzled disliking and respectful appreciation.It is original, it is inventive, and it is unique - that is certain. Anthony Burgess, who has a keen interest in linguistics, is obviously a creative and intelligent man.I was drawn in by the book's opening-page description of itself, proclaiming to be the tale of "a young man whose principal interests are rape, ultra-violence and Beethoven."All the elements are here. This should have been a book that I was destined to love. But, it just wasn't. Even though I do not deny that "A Clockwork Orange" is well written, I simply didn't care for it. The use of another, fictitious language called Nadsat seemed pointless and silly to me. It gave me that quietly embarrassed, silently scoffing sort of feeling I used to get when my adult aunt and uncle insisted on speaking to each other in Pig Latin (I was pointedly mortified when they offered to teach me). Burgess' invented language most often appears to be similar to Russian, with words like "devochka," but at other times it appears to be just plain silly, like baby talk or the offending Pig Latin, for example. An example would be: "he look a malenky bit poogly when he viddied..." Often I just thought to myself, wtf? The entire book is peppered with these foreign words, and often quite heavily. I wish that I had known beforehand that there was a glossary in the back that listed all of the definitions, as it would have made the first half of the book much more comprehensible.In the end, though, I decided that I disliked Nadsat. Reviews assured me that I would get used to it, but that wasn't the issue for me. I didn't want to get used to it, I wanted to understand and appreciate it. And I didn't.Though it is, yes, a commendable and smart concept to put into a book, Burgess didn't actually invent a language, but merely some words. If he created his own grammar and rules as well, they are not found in his novella. I think I would have respected Nadsat more if it were spoken *fully* on and off, and had pronouns and adjectives and everything else a true, full language must have, such as what Tolkien (also a linguist) did.The story, with its underlying questions of morality and individuality, was interesting, especially as it progressed further. It is about a teenage boy named Alex, the gang/crime/hoodlum type, who is finally caught and thrown in jail after years of violently terrorizing the streets at night. Unable to stand the idea of being locked away for decades, Alex jumps at a chance to be released in a mere month. A miracle, it seems, and all he has to do is undergo some sort of breakthrough new treatment that still needs validation and testing. The treatment will transform a criminal, and forcefully re-create him into someone "good." The questions this book presented were insightful and thought provoking. Which is better: to be a criminal who harms others, or to be forced to become "good" and no longer have free will? It seems a lose-lose situation, and the book illustrates this. Before the treatment, Alex is a despicable ruffian. Afterward, he is a pitiful, ruined young man. The book actually becomes rather sad toward the end. I was especially moved when the proud Alex, rather than defend himself against a man who is cruelly taunting him and his family, piteously kneels before him and offers to lick his boots.The only beautiful thing about Alex is his love for music. For such a cold, remorseless villain, he feels music with intense passion. The writing here was not written to be poetic, but in a striking scene where Alex immerses himself in Beethoven, it is as if Burgess is flipping his writing switch from "violent and harsh" to "lyrical and gorgeous." The contrast makes it even more noticeable. I loved this sentence:"And then... gravity all nonsense now, came the violin solo above all the other strings
amschroe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of my top 5 favorite books of all time! I think the first time I read it, I was maybe a freshman in high school. I loved how the invented words added a layer of immersion to the story, and the ways in which one could visualize the scenes. The way in which it is written is just remarkable. Truly a must-read for all, I think. Of course, there is a certain level of violence and sexuality that is not appropriate for all. But the story, the writing, and the social issues the story points to are simply a winning combination. A true masterpiece.And read the book before you see the film!
graceschumann on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It took me a couple chapters to get into the story because of the different vocabulary that the characters use. Once I was into it though, there was no going back. Burgess shocks the reader by his vivid use of details when describing the violent acts Alex and his "droogs," or friends, engage in, but in a way that makes you want to keep reading. The reader wants to know what their cause is for behaving in this way and what's going to happen to balance out their viscous acts. This book brings several moral questions into context. One being about the idea of freedom...freedom from society's predisposed notions of how a person in certain age groups acts, freedom from government laws and actions that are sometimes unjust or inhumane, freedom for an individual himself to determine what's right and wrong (mainly the last one). There's also the idea about how violence or malevolence manifests itself in people necessarily so they are given the opportunity to decide how they shall handle it and what consequences will come of their actions should they choose to indulge this evilness. If you're going to read the book though, you really need to read the edition with 21 chapters instead of the edition with only 20. If I had just stopped reading at the end of the 20th chapter and not reached the conclusion Alex has, I probably would have been disappointed. It makes it into a whole different story that is much more touching. Also, it's how Burgess originally wrote it and wanted it published. All in all though, a real horrorshow dystopian novel!
Tokishone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this book. I read it for the first time in 8th grade after I found it in the back of my sister's boyfriend's car. It was so wonderfully odd and creative I just fell in love with the story. It's so easy to sink into this book and once I started it I had trouble putting it down, I would definitely recommend this book as a must read.
MColv9890 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this as a young adult and was just as moved by the novel as the Stanley Kubrick film. The ideology has passed but the effectiveness of the language is still very strong. This is a personal favorite in spite of the author's assertion that this is NOT one of his best works.
tulikangaroo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Knock me over with a feather - I liked it. This has never really been on my Must Read list, but I've always felt that it's something that I should get around to doing someday. I was very skeptical of the messed-up teenage world view thing (as I really disliked The Catcher in the Rye), but despite being brutal and sickening, it is fascinating and riveting. Perhaps I'm just old enough to appreciate it now (though I can't make any promises about re-reading Catcher).So glad to have read the 21-chapter version; it leaves a completely different taste in your mouth than stopping a chapter short (as in Kubrick's film) - there's hope.
SeaOak on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A modern classic and my favorite all time.
jeaxra on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of my absolute favorite books. As wonderful as the film version is, it doesn't compare to the remarkableness of the written work. I love Burgess's ability to make a human, and even a likable one, out of such a truly awful character. I think the horrible gravity of what these young gangs are doing on a regular and casual basis is lessened by the unique made up "Teenage" language and that fact that in the current society where the tale takes place these despicable behaviors are entirely too common, as if it's expected. Despite knowing these things you're able to feel compassion for Alex because of how it's narrated even though you're fully aware that he probably deserved everything he'd gotten.No one should go on NOT having read this book at LEAST once in their lives.
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