A Clockwork Orange

1962 novel by Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange is an English dystopian novella written by Anthony Burgess and published in 1962.

A Clockwork Orange
cover art
AuthorAnthony Burgess
Cover artistBarry Trengrove[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreScience fiction, Dystopian fiction, Satire, Black Comedy
Published1962 (William Heinemann, UK)
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback) & audio book (cassette, CD)
Pages192 pages (hardback edition) &
176 pages (paperback edition)

Through the exploits and experiences of the teenaged, charismatic but sociopathic, Alex, it explores mankind's violent nature. The novel is set in a not-so-distant future society with a culture of extreme youth rebellion and violence. It satirizes trends in youth culture that were around in the 1960s in the West, and to some extent still present today. The dramatic events throw a light on human free will to choose between good or evil, and the weakness of free will as a solution to evil. Alex and his three goons do various crimes, mainly assaulting everyone: Brutally for the men, and sexually for the women. He is sent to prison for murdering a woman whilst burgling her house.

Burgess experiments with language by writing in a Russian-influenced argot (slang) called "Nadsat" which is used by the novel’s teenage anti-hero in his first-person narrative, and the younger characters. According to Burgess, the novel was a jeu d'esprit written in just three weeks.

In 2005, A Clockwork Orange was included on Time magazine's list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923,[2] and it was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.[3] The original manuscript of the book was bought by McMaster University. Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1971.[4]

The best known adaptation of the novel to other forms is the 1971 movie A Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrick, starring Malcolm McDowell as Alex. A 1965 film by Andy Warhol entitled Vinyl was also an adaptation of Burgess' novel.


  • 2008 - Prometheus Award (Hall of Fame Award)


  1. Urgent Copy exhibition: A Clockwork Orange (1962) | International Anthony Burgess Foundation Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  2. Grossman, Lev; Richard Lacayo (16 October 2005). "All-Time 100 Novels: the complete list". Time. Archived from the original on 13 September 2008. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  3. "100 Best Novels". Modern Library. Retrieved 31 October 2012
  4. Humphreys, Adrian (2012). "A clockwork original: McMaster University bought manuscript of iconic novel for $250". National Post. Retrieved 13 November 2012.