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Anthony Burgess's modern classic of youthful violence and social redemption, reissued to include the controversial last chapter not previously published in this country, with a new introduction by the author.
Burgess was born John Anthony Burgess Wilson into a Roman Catholic Lancashire family in an English town, the son of a bookkeeper/pianist and a musician/dancer. His mother died of Spanish influenza when he was a baby, and for this and other reasons he gave up his faith when he was 16. Burgess loved music, was an accomplished pianist, and wished to be a composer, but he became interested in writing as a student at the University of Manchester. He joined the army in 1940, and gave concerts to the troops, lectured, taught map reading and languages, and .worked in Army intelligence. In 1942 he married a cousin of Christopher Isherwood whom he met in college--Llewela Isherwood Jones. The brutal assault scene in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE was based on an attack on Burgess's wife in 1943 by American G.I.'s in London, which resulted in a miscarriage; she was never entirely well after the incident. Burgess devoted himself to music after the war--composing, arranging, playing in a jazz combo--but also worked as a teacher, first in England, then in Malaya, Brunei, and Borneo. Eventually, bored and frustrated by teaching and by the English colonials there, Burgess collapsed mysteriously in class one day. He was sent back to England, where he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and given a year to live. His wife took their small savings, invested it in the stock market, and made enough money for them to live on while Burgess wrote novels. He produced five in quick succession, intending to leave the profits from them as a legacy to his wife; at the end of a year, he was still alive, and found that he had become a professional novelist who had to defend his prolific output. He regained his health, but his wife died in 1968. Burgess remarried, to an Italian contessa, a translator of Pynchon's V and Durrell's ALEXANDRIAN QUARTET, and had a son. He lived first in Rome, then in Monaco, where he died in 1993.
From the Publisher
"'What's it going to be then, eh?'| There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, Dim being really dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar making up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening, a flip dark chill winter bastard though dry."
Presents Burgess' satire of the present inhumanity of man to man through a futuristic culture where teenagers rule with violence, and includes the final chapter deleted from the first American edition.
In this 1962 classic, a novelistic exploration of modern crime and punishment, Alex is the 15-year-old leader of his gang of "droogs" thriving in the ultraviolent future as prophetically imagined by Burgess. Speaking a bizarre Russian-derived slang, Alex and his friends freely pillage and slash their way across a nightmarish urban landscape until Alex is captured by the judicial arm of the state. He then becomes their prized guinea pig in a scientific program to completely "redeem" him for society. If we had the power of absolute criminal reform, what, the novel asks, would this mean for our ideals of freedom and society?