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The Burgess Lecture: Dominic Sandbrook on A Clockwork Orange (part 2)

Here’s more from Dominic Sandbrook’s lecture on A Clockwork Orange and the culture of the 1960s and 1970s, touching on how Burgess’s dystopia presents a version of ‘the affluent society gone wrong’, and deals with contemporary anxieties about the rise of the teenager, sexual precociousness, and propensity for violence.

He also discusses the first, muted, reaction by Burgess’s publisher – ‘It’s fascinating, but rather hard work to read, and is only indirectly funny [...][the ending is] a little soggy. [...] With luck the book will be a big success and give the teenagers a new language, but it might be an enormous flop. Certainly nothing in between.’- and the early somewhat mixed reviews of the novel, including Kingsley Amis’s assessment that it is ‘a fine farrago of outrageousness’ and ‘a big laugh’.

 

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