A previously unseen manuscript for a follow-up to Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange has been unearthed in the author’s archives.
The 200-page manuscript, titled The Clockwork Condition, is a collection of Burgess’ thoughts on the human condition and explores the moral panic that followed the release of Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of his famous work, the Guardian reported.
Burgess’ 1962 novel A Clockwork Orange is set in a dystopian future and tells the story of Alex, a violence-obsessed teen, and the state’s attempts to re-educate him. The cult film, released in 1971, starred Malcolm McDowell as Alex and was pulled from cinemas after it was accused of inspiring violent copycat crimes.
Andrew Biswell, Professor of Modern Literature at Manchester Metropolitan University and author of a biography of Burgess, discovered the remarkable lost work among papers abandoned by the author in his home in Bracciano, Italy.
When the house was sold after Burgess’s death in 1993, the archive was transferred to the Burgess Foundation in Manchester, where it is now being catalogued, according to a press release.
Burgess described The Clockwork Condition as a “major philosophical statement on the contemporary human condition.” The book survives as a series of typewritten drafts, notes and outlines, in which Burgess develops ideas from his original novel, addresses the controversy surrounding Kubrick’s film, and puts forward new arguments about the possible dangers of technology and visual culture, especially film and television.
“This is a very exciting discovery. Burgess’s only public reference to The Clockwork Condition was in a 1975 interview where he suggested that it had not developed beyond the idea stage,” said Biswell, who is also Director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester, UK. “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.
One of the pages of the manuscript written by Anthony Burgess as a follow-up to his famous novel, ‘A Clockwork Orange.’ (Photo Credit: Manchester Metropolitan University)
According to Biswell, the manuscript also casts fresh light on Burgess’s complicated relationship with A Clockwork Orange, a work that he went on revisiting until the end of his life.
Burgess abandoned the manuscript when he came to realize that “he was a novelist and not a philosopher,” said Biswell. Burgess then published a short autobiographical novel tackling some of the same themes, The Clockwork Testament, in 1974.