A Clockwork Orange: The Last Chapter

A girl I knew asked me to take her to “A Clockwork Orange” back in 1971, when it first came out. It was the first time I’d heard the title, and I had no idea what to expect. I don’t think she did either. She was rather shocked, but I’ve been a Kubrick fan ever since. Of course, the movie became a cult classic. Type “clockwork” on the Google search line, and the first suggestion that comes up is “clockwork orange,” with 2,850,000 hits.
As one might expect, the links run the gamut from the ridiculous to the sublime, but there’s a lot of amusing and interesting stuff out there. Among the reviews, my personal favorite is here. Of course, the academicians have added their two cents worth. There’s even a site with a Nadsat glossary, and some interesting remarks by a Russian guy on the Nadsat experience.
Many years after I saw the film, I saw Burgess’ novel at a second hand bookshop, and decided to have a look. I liked it even better than the movie. With a few notable exceptions, I’m usually not attracted to novels that aren’t a direct reflection of the author’s own life. This was one of the exceptions. Linguistically, it’s a work of genius. The “Nadsat” in the book is a fantastic concoction with a much heavier tincture of Slavic than Kubrick could allow himself in the movie. If you want to read it, take my advice, and find a copy with a Nadsat glossary in the back or print out the one on the Internet. And one more thing; make sure you get the last chapter that Kubrick left out of the movie. You see, Burgess nursed an enduring grievance against Kubrick, not to mention a classic case of European anti-Americanism, because it was dropped. In his own words, “I leave what I wrote with what Dr. Johnson called frigid indifference to the judgment of that .00000001 of the American population which cares about such things. Eat this sweetish segment or spit it out. You are free.” Brrrrrrr!

Author: Helian

I am Doug Drake, and I live in Maryland, not far from Washington, DC. I am a graduate of West Point, and I hold a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin. My blog reflects my enduring fascination with human nature and human morality.

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