A Clockwork Orange Critical Context
by Anthony Burgess

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Critical Context

(Critical Guide to British Fiction)

The qualities of A Clockwork Orange are visible in many of Burgess’ other works: The Wanting Seed (1962), for example, is an equally dark view of the bleak future awaiting modern society, and other novels set in contemporary times, such as A Vision of Battlements (written in 1949, published in 1965) and The Right to an Answer (1960), present untraditional “antiheroes,” neither totally sympathetic nor totally repulsive, who try to negotiate the split in a culture between lifeless passivity and anarchic passion. A Clockwork Orange, however—helped by the release of Stanley Kubrick’s popular and influential film version in 1971—remains his most controversial and discussed novel, some critics chastising Burgess for what they interpret as a dangerous fascination with redemptive violence and others applauding him for his imaginative, provocative, and even prophetic vision of a world on the wane.