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Explore the rare and previously unseen 'Clockwork Orange' sequel by Anthony Burgess


A previously unseen Clockwork Orange sequel written by Anthony Burgess has been unearthed.

The non-fiction follow-up, which remains unfinished has been described as “part philosophical reflection and part autobiography” and titled ‘A Clockwork Condition’.

Made up of some 200 pages, the sequel of sorts is said to be a varying collection of Burgess’ thoughts on ‘the human condition’ and it explores major themes from the original book which was released in 1962.

The original, of course, tells the story of a dark and disturbing dystopian crime tale which revolves around rape, gangs, thugs and coining the phrase “ultra-violence”. The novel was famously converted into a highly controversial feature film by Stanley Kubrick.

Speaking of the film, Kubrick once described it as “a social satire dealing with the question of whether behavioural psychology and psychological conditioning are dangerous new weapons for a totalitarian government to use to impose vast controls on its citizens and turn them into little more than robots,” in Saturday Review.

It is believed that in Burgess’ unseen follow-up he also addresses the furore that surrounded Kubrick’s adaptation of the novel. According to the BBC, the manuscript for the sequel, A Clockwork Condition, was never published and was found among papers at Burgess’s house in Bracciano, near Rome, Italy.

Burgess’ house was sold in 1993 following his death and his work has since been archived in Manchester where the sequel has remained untouched. Burgess himself described A Clockwork Condition as “major philosophical statement on the contemporary human condition” and explores the effect of technology, the media, film and television has on humanity.

“In 1945, back from the army,” an extract from the work begins, “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 twenty 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.”

Professor Andrew Biswell, director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, told the BBC: “This remarkable unpublished sequel to A Clockwork Orange sheds new light on Burgess, Kubrick and the controversy surrounding the notorious novel.”

“This is a very exciting discovery,” added Biswell. “Part philosophical reflection and part autobiography, 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. It also casts fresh light on Burgess’s complicated relationship with his own Clockwork Orange novel, a work that he went on revisiting until the end of his life.”

The recently unearthed archive has also discovered around 40 unpublished short stories by Burgess. “Some of them are quite early, from the 1960s when he was not that well known,” Biswell said. “The best of them are very good.”

[MORE] – Rare behind the scenes images of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’