by Anthony Burgess
. The novel contains an experiment in language: the characters often use an argot
", derived from Russian
In 1998, the Modern Library
ranked A Clockwork Orange 65th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
, a teenager living in near-future England, leads his gang on nightly orgies of opportunistic, random "ultra-violence." Alex's friends ("droogs" in the novel's Anglo-Russian slang, Nadsat
) are Dim, a slow-witted bruiser who is the gang's muscle; Georgie, an ambitious second-in-command; and Pete, who mostly plays along as the droogs indulge their taste for ultra-violence.
"What's it going to be then, eh?"
"Come with uncle," I said, "and hear all proper. Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited."
There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, Dim being really dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar making up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening.
Welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, well. To what do I owe the extreme pleasure of this surprising visit?
Lets make things nice and sparkling clear. This sarcasm - if I may call it such, is very unbecoming of you oh my brothers
You try to frighten me. Admit so, sir. This is some new form of torture. Say it, Brother Sir.
"The Korova milkbar sold milk-plus, milk plus vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom, which is what we were drinking. This would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultraviolence."
"Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh. It was like a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now. As I slooshied, I knew such lovely pictures!" (This was said while listening to Ludwig Van's Ninth Symphony)
"Initiative comes to thems that wait."
"What we were after now was the old surprise visit. That was a real kick and good for laughs and lashings of the old ultraviolence."