Alas, there’s a sequel to A Clockwork Orange. Kind of.
As the BBC reports, archivists from the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester, England have uncovered a 200-page manuscript among his works that they’ve said is a follow-up to his legendary 1962 novel. Titled A Clockwork Condition, the unfinished non-fiction novel is described as “part philosophical reflection and part autobiography” that Burgess himself called a “major philosophical statement on the contemporary human condition.”
The late author also digressed on the controversy stemming from Stanley Kubrick’s iconic 1971 adaptation starring Malcolm McDowell, which was later banned in the UK due to a string of copycat crimes that followed in the wake of its release.
One provided extract finds Burgess explaining the meaning behind the title:
“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.”
As to why it wasn’t published, Prof. Andrew Biswell of Manchester Metropolitan University said Burgess concluded that “he was a novelist and not a philosopher.” Although, that didn’t stop him from publishing a similar novella in 1974: The Clockwork Testament.
(Page to Screen: The Real Cure: A Clockwork Orange’s Missing Ending)
Christ, with that many titles, Burgess’ opus sounds more like a Robert Ludlow series. Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem as if this will lead to any further misadventures from psychopath Alex (DeLarge), which is probably good news for everyone.
Whether or not we’ll all get to read the manuscript remains to be seen. For now, listen to an in-depth discussion on Kubrick’s adaptation of A Clockwork Orange in our past season of Filmography, our filmmaker’s podcast hosted by our own Film and TV Editor Dominick Suzanne-Mayer.