A Clockwork Orange: Previously unseen ‘sequel’ to Anthony Burgess novel discovered

News arrives ahead of a major Stanley Kubrick exhibition, which will include material from his adaptation of the notorious book

Roisin O'Connor@Roisin_OConnor
Thursday 25 April 2019 08:11
A Clockwork Orange trailer

A “remarkable” follow-up to Anthony Burgess’s famous novel A Clockwork Orange has been unearthed from his archive.

The previously unseen manuscript is titled A Clockwork Condition, according to the BBC, and is a collection of the author’s thoughts on the human condition that develops the themes from his 1962 book. It is described as “part philosophical reflection and part autobiography”.

The manuscript was found among papers at Burgess’s house in Bracciano, near Rome. When the house was sold after his death in 1993, the archive was moved to Manchester, where it is being catalogued by the International Anthony Burgess Foundation.

Burgess himself described the work as a “major philosophical statement on the contemporary human condition”, outlining his concerns about the effect on humanity of technology, in particular media, film and television.

It explains the origins of his novel’s unusual title, as Burgess wrote: “In 1945, back from the army, I heard an 80-year-old Cockney in a London pub say that somebody was ‘as queer as a clockwork orange’.

“The ‘queer’ did not mean homosexual: it meant mad... For nearly 20 years I wanted to use it as the title of something... It was a traditional trope, and it asked to entitle a work which combined a concern with tradition and a bizarre technique.”

Burgess also used the work to address the several controversies surrounding Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film adaptation of the novel. The movie, which starred Malcolm McDowell as the violence-obsessed Alex, was banned by local UK councils after being blamed for inspiring copycat crimes.

The news arrives ahead of the launch of a major Stanley Kubrick exhibition at the Design Museum in London, which will include material from the film.

Professor Andrew Biswell, director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, said: “This remarkable unpublished sequel to A Clockwork Orange sheds new light on Burgess, Kubrick and the controversy surrounding the notorious novel.

The Clockwork Condition provides a context for Burgess’s most famous work, and amplifies his views on crime, punishment and the possible corrupting effects of visual culture.”

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments