An unpublished manuscript serving as the sequel to “A Clockwork Orange” was discovered this week in author Anthony Burgess’ house in Bracciano, Italy. The discovery was confirmed by BBC News. Entitled “A Clockwork Condition,” the nearly 200-page script is “a collection of Burgess’ thoughts on the human condition and develops the themes from his 1962 book.” The novel was the inspiration for Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film of the same name, starring Malcolm McDowell, as well as Andy Warhol’s earlier adaptation, “Vinyl,” from 1965. The non-fiction sequel is described as “part philosophical reflection and part autobiography.”
“A Clockwork Condition” expands on many of the themes Burgess tackled in the fictional story of “A Clockwork Orange.” The book follows a sociopath named Alex as he carries out acts of ultra-violence with his gang of thugs, named the droogs. The story follows Alex’s crime spree and eventual capture, as society attempts to rehabilitate him by removing his violent thoughts. Burgess said “A Clockwork Condition” was designed to be a “major philosophical statement on the contemporary human condition,” outlining the author’s “concerns about the effect on humanity of technology, in particular media, film and television.”
The sequel manuscript also includes a description of the original book’s title. Per an except written by Burgess, “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 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of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, reacted to the manuscript’s discovery by telling BBC: “This remarkable unpublished sequel to ‘A Clockwork Orange’ sheds new light on Burgess, Kubrick, and the controversy surrounding the notorious novel. ‘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.”
Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” remains one of his most visible directorial efforts and one of the most controversial films ever made. The film was a box office hit despite its graphic subject matter and even scored Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Director.