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Anthony Burgess (1917 1993)

Related: 1917 - British literature - A Clockwork Orange (1962) - author


Anthony Burgess (February 25, 1917 November 22, 1993) was an English novelist and critic. He was also active as a composer, librettist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist, essayist, travel writer, broadcaster, translator and educationalist. Born in city of Manchester in England's North-West, he lived and worked variously in Southeast Asia, the United States and Mediterranean Europe. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Burgess [Aug 2006]

A Clockwork Orange (1962) - Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange (1962) - Anthony Burgess [Amazon US]
Set a few years in the future, the book follows the career of fifteen year old Alex (his full name is revealed in the movie as Alexander de Large). His main pleasures in life are classical music, rape, and random acts of extreme violence ("ultraviolence" in Alex's idiom). Alex roams the streets at night with his gang, committing crimes for enjoyment, while no one attempts to stop them or the other gangs that ravage the community. He tells his story in a teenage slang called "Nadsat", which combines eighteenth-century Russian and English slang.

Eventually Alex is incarcerated and "rehabilitated" by a program of aversion therapy. However, the experiment is nothing more than a harsh exercise in behavioral conditioning that strips Alex of his free will. Though it renders him incapable of violence (even in self-defence), it also makes him unable to enjoy his favourite classical music, an unintended side effect.

The moral issue at stake within the book is that Alex is now "good", but his ability to decide this for himself has been taken from him; his "goodness" is as artificial as the clockwork orange of the book's title. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Clockwork_Orange [Jun 2005]

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