In the famous dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess writes of a teen named Alex who engages in "ultra-violence" with his cronies until he is captured and subjected to an extreme form of behavior modification by the state. Eventually, after traumatizing experiences upon his release, Alex's violent tendencies return, whereupon he exclaims: "I was cured all right." Numerous influences prompted Anthony Burgess to write this dark futuristic vision.
Literary influences include dystopian classics such as Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, and Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley. Burgess was also influenced by works on behaviorism by B. F. Skinner.
In 1959, Burgess returned to England from overseas teaching posts to discover an emerging new youth culture of drugs, violence, and pop music. The violence in the novel was also inspired by an attack by American soldiers his first wife suffered during a World War II blackout.
The unique slang called Nadsat that Alex the narrator uses to tell his story is the result of Burgess's visit to Leningrad in 1961. The word "Nadsat" means "teen" in Russian, and Burgess uses many Russian words in it, as well as criminal slang and a smattering of Romany words and phrases.
According to Burgess, the novel's unique title comes from a phrase of East London slang: "as queer as a clockwork orange." In an interview Burgess said, "I've implied a junction of the organic, the lively, the sweet—in other words, life, the orange—and the mechanical, the cold, the disciplined."