50 years of A Clockwork Orange
Alex represents anti-authoritarianism. He is the iconoclastic anarchist, the insubordinate lacking obedience to social order, who himself became an icon – and it’s this, coupled with his powerful aesthetic, that has allowed his influence to extend beyond literature into wider culture.
We know the book and its famous cover(s) artwork. We know the infamous movie. But what happened to Anthony Burgess? Well, for a start, he was actually called John Burgess Wilson and wrote under a pen name. He wrote plays, poetry and was a literary critic. He was also a talented composer. Burgess died in 1993 after a well travelled life that included stints in Asia and the USA. He is buried in Monaco where he had lived since 1976.
A Clockwork Orange represents a fraction of his life’s work. He wrote more than 30 novels but nothing came close watching Clockwork Orange in terms of popularity or notoriety. A novel called Earthly Powers was shortlisted for the 1980 Book Prize but lost out to Rites of Passage by William Golding.