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Other titles in the Norton Critical Editions series:

A Clockwork Orange (Norton Critical Editions)


A Clockwork Orange (Norton Critical Editions) Cover

ISBN13: 9780393928099
ISBN10: 0393928098
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A terrifying tale about good and evil and the meaning of human freedom, 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 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 , 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 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.

Book News Annotation:

Edited by Rawlinson (literature, U. of Leicester, UK), this volume continues Norton's practice of including the original 21st chapter in North American editions of Burgess' A Clockwork Orange. The text of the novel precedes a section offering context-providing material by Burgess, along with commentaries from individuals including B.F. Skinner and George Steiner. Sections in a third part of the edition present reviews and scholarly analyses of both Burgess' novel and Kubrick's film. A glossary of "nadsat" terms, a chronology of Burgess' life, and a selected bibliography, are also provided. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (


"A brilliant novel . . . a savage satire on the distortions of the single and collective minds." — "Anthony Burgess has written what looks like a nasty little shocker, but is really that rare thing in English letters: a philosophical novel." --

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.

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Elizabeth Thomas, August 12, 2012 (view all comments by Elizabeth Thomas)
I read *A Clockwork Orange* mostly unspoiled, without any idea about the plot and a vague memory that someone had told me Kubrick's film was difficult to understand. The high level of graphic violence in the first part of the book was a shock to me. While all of the violence and rape is described in the near-futuristic slang of the book called "Nadsat," I have always been good at picking up different dialects and didn't feel the language truly shielded me from the horror of the events that the very young Alex was orchestrating. It was all I could do to move on to parts 2 and 3 of the book that involve Alex's subsequent imprisonment and the interesting sequence of adventures that ensue when he convinces the authorities to use him as test subject for a state-sponsored reformation program called "The Ludovico Technique." The program messes with Alex's mind and neuters his spark, removing both his ability to commit violence but also accidentally his ability to enjoy music. Aside from some of the playful words Burgess coins in "Nadsat" and the interesting parallelism in the novel, it is in the philosophical questions that arise about free will and whether or not the rest of society isn't just as brutal as Alex, in their own way, that are the strongest points of this book. This edition includes Burgess' final twenty-first chapter which was excluded from the American edition, and while I see what he was trying to say with it, I unfortunately found it unbelievable as the turn doesn't follow naturally if you are paying attention to Alex's true character. Norton's critical edition is definitely worth all of the additional commentary and analyses that provide a context of the different ways that the novel (and Kubrick's film) have been reviewed and interpreted.
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Product Details

Burgess, Anthony
W. W. Norton & Company
Rawlinson, Mark
Rawlinson, Mark
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Literary Criticism : General
Literature-A to Z
Norton Critical Editions
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
8 x 5 x 1 in

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

A Clockwork Orange (Norton Critical Editions) New Trade Paper
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Product details 368 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393928099 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "A brilliant novel . . . a savage satire on the distortions of the single and collective minds." — "Anthony Burgess has written what looks like a nasty little shocker, but is really that rare thing in English letters: a philosophical novel." --
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