Clockwork Orange, A Easter Egg - Chapter 21? Where?

Everyone is familiar with Stanley Kubick's A Clockwork Orange, but few know that the movie did not end like the book did. Kubrick used an American version of the script, which left out the last chapter, where "your humble narrator" matures NATURALLY, in his own time.

This chapter was the 21st (21 = maturity) in the book and was cut by Burgess' American publisher because said publisher viewed the denouement as a "sellout".

Needless to say, Burgess is not a big fan of the movie.

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Contributed By: Prince Mu-Chao on 09-02-1999
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Special Requirements: A NON-AMERICAN version of the book Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Please correct this Egg if you see errors.

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I found this recently from: http://www.cs.waikato.ac.nz/~butting/kubrick/resucked.html I found it relevant - hope you do too. I also hope we beat Brazil on Friday, but I imagine I'm alone on that score. Still seems to me that Burgess was misunderstood by the audience of ACO. Try "The End Of The World News" or "Earthly Powers". I finished EP on my fifth attempt over 3 years and it was well worth it. ACO pales in significance.n Anyway: A Clockwork Orange Resucked This essay is included in the 1987 Norton edition, which restores the novella to its original 21 chapters. Thanks to Theresa Workman (AClokworkO@aol.com) for passing these extracts on, as well as a summary of Eric Swenson's "Publisher's Note" from the same edition, dated December 1986: In it, Mr. Swenson basically says that he is happy to restore the novella to its original state, and that to his recollection, the omission of the last chapter was not a condition of publication, but rather a "suggestion made for conceptual reasons." -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- INTRODUCTION A Clockwork Orange Resucked I FIRST PUBLISHED the novella A Clockwork Orange in 1962, which ought to be far enough in the past for it to be erased from the world's literary memory. It refuses to be erased, however, and for this the film version of the book made by Stanley Kubrick may be held chiefly responsible. I should myself be glad to disown it for various reasons, but this is not permitted. I receive mail from students who try to write theses about it, or requests from Japanese dramaturges to turn it into a sort of Noh play. It seems likely to survive, while other works of mine that I value more bite the dust. This is not an unusual experience for an artist. Rachmaninoff used to groan because he was known mainly for a Prelude in C Sharp Minor which he wrote as a boy, while the works of his maturity never got into the programmes. Kids cut their pianistic teeth on a Minuet in G which Beethoven composed only so that he could detest it. I have to go on living with A Clockwork Orange, and this means I have a sort of authorial duty to it. I have a very special duty to it in the United States, and I had better now explain what that duty is. Let me put the situation baldly. A Clockwork Orange has never been published entire in America. The book I wrote is divided into three sections of seven chapters each. Take out your pocket calculator and you will find that these add up to a total of twenty-one chapters. 21 is the symbol of human maturity, or used to be, since at 21 you got the vote and assumed adult responsibility. Whatever its symbology, the number 21 was the number I started out with. Novelists of my stamp are interested in what is called arithmology, meaning that [a] number has to mean something in human terms when they handle it. The number of chapters is never entirely arbitrary. Just as a musical composer starts off with a vague image of bulk and duration, so a novelist begins with an image of length, and this image is expressed in the number of sections and the number of chapters into which the work will be disposed. Those twenty one chapters were important to me. But they were not important to my New York publisher. The book he brought out had only twenty chapters. He insisted on cutting out the twenty-first. I could, of course, have demurred at this and taken my book elsewhere, but it was considered that he was being charitable in accepting the work at all, and that all other New York, or Boston, publishers would kick out the manuscript on its dog-ear. I needed money back in 1961, even the pittance I was being offered as an advance, and if the condition of the book's acceptance was also its truncation - well, so be it. So there is a profound difference between A Clockwork Orange as Great Britain knows it and the somewhat slimmer volume that bears the same name in the United States of America. Let us go further. The rest of the world was sold the book out of Great Britain, and so most versions... have the original twenty-one chapters. Now when Stanley Kubrick made his film - though he made it in Englad - he followed the American version and, so it seemed to his audiences outside America, ended the story somewhat prematurely. People wrote to me about this - indeed much of my later life has been expended on Xeroxing statements of intention and the frustration of intention - while both Kubrick and my New York publisher coolly bask in the rewards of their misdemeanor. Life is, of course, terrible. Burgess goes on to discuss the merits of the 21st chapter and the meaning of the title (and the loss thereof in translation), which I'll type up after dosing up on more Coke. He ends with: Readers of the twenty-first chapter must decide for themselves whether it enhances the book they presumably know or is really a discardable limb. I meant the book to end in this way, but my aesthetic judgegment may have been faulty. Writers are rarely their own best critics, nor are critics. 'Quod scripsi scripsi' said Pontius Pilate when he made Jesus Christ the King of the Jews. 'What I have written I have Written.' We can destroy what we have written but we cannot unwrite it. I leave what I wrote with what Dr. Johnson called frigid indifference to the judgement of that .00000001 of the American population which cares about such things. Eat this sweetish segment or spit it out. You are free. Anthony Burgess, November 1986 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- PUBLISHER'S NOTE THIS NEW, American edition of A Clockwork Orange, as the author so forcefully puts it in his Introduction, is longer by one chapter - the last. This chapter was included in the original, British edition but dropped from the American edition and therefore from Stanley Kubrick's film version. The author and his American publisher - who is delighted to give this fascinating book a new and larger life - differ in their memories as to whether or not the dropping of the last chapter, which changed the book's impact dramatically, was a condition of publication or merely a suggestion made for conceptual reasons. Whichever is true, the larger truth is that A Clockwork Orange is a modern classic which must, indeed, be made available to Anthony Burgess's American readers precisely in the form he wishes it to be. It is so done. Eric Swenson, December 1986
19 of 21 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes No
Triskele writes:
Yea, with Chapter 21 in there, the whole meaning of the book changes. Instead of a commentary on man's manipulation of man and problems with our society, it instead redirects the reader to the fact that people and civilizations go through phases which they eventually grow out of. A real horrorshow book it is too, oh my brothers, so get yourself to a bookstore skorry and pick a copy up.
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Di writes:
Many years ago I attended a language refresher course in Munich. The nature of the school was this: the husbands (mostly soviet dissident writers-in-exile) all were broadcasters for Radio Free, and the wives all taught at the language school. All being part of the Russian literary crowd, I happened to have one instructor who was personally acquainted with Burgess, so his book of course became a conversation topic in class. In addition to the many anglicized Russian words (such as, from a comment above, "horosho" [good] and "skoro" [quickly]), the book vs. movie endings were discussed and examined. Based on the things I learned then, I can state with confidence that the book did, in fact, always have 21 chapters, and none were modified to change the ending later - the ending is what it has always been. My understanding is that it was meant as (1) a commentary on the possibilities of totalitarianism, the cruelties of man to man, and the traditional things we associate - and (2) a statement that a thing's true nature (a man, a culture, etc) will eventually out - echoing Burgess' conviction that no matter how tightly a totalitarian gov't might have its boot on the neck of his countrymen, the peoples' innate nature would eventually out and win in the end.
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If I recall correctly, the original book WAS twenty-one chapters long, split into three seven-chapter segments. [This from having read a later, 'restored' American edition with an Author's Note.] It was the American publishers who thought the final chapter was cheesy, so they cut it.
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WooWooWoo writes:
i'd like to say that i'm an avid fan of both print and film versions. and though the book is superior, the movie is a nearly perfect work of art. regardless of whether chapter 21 was omitted, even if there was no book to be based on, the movie is spectacular. it makes all the malanky hairs on my plot stand up.
3 of 4 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes No
Splutter writes:
Burgess didn't like Kubricks ending as has been mentioned, as he had written a 21st chapter. A real egg occurs however in Burgess' revenge. Unsatisfied with the film he wrote a stage play, a musical adaptation of the film (Ive seen it, it wasn't great) in which he illustrates his own ideas. What he also includes is the scene where in the film Alex and his Droogs beat up a homeless man to the accompaniment of 'Singin' in the Rain'. In Burgess' play the homeless man is described as being like Kubrick. I cant recall if he uses Kubricks name or simply gives a description of him. This is however supposed to be symbolic of Kubrick and I guess what Burgess felt he deserved for his film treatment of the novel. If your really interested the film magazine "Sight and Sound" ran a great article detailing Burgess v Kubrick in its special Kubrick issue released after Kubrick died.
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I bought the unabridged version after reading the bridged. It has more lines and an extra chapter. Though some of the words are english, it is definately better than the bridged version
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Kuashio writes:
That's NOT an Easter Egg! I the preface, Anthony Burgess explicitly says all about it.
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Jonny writes:
The book was written years and years before the film asa Burgess thought he was going to die and hadn't had much success as a writer and wanted his wife to have money to live off when he was gone. It always had 21 chapters and Kubrick altered the ending himself, (maybe the studio had a hand in it but I doubt Kubrick would have agreed to that). Burgess objected to the ending being changed but, because the rights had been bought, was powerless to do anything about it.
2 of 5 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes No
It certainly makes a change for American film makers to leave out the "happy" ending rather than make one up (see various versions of 'Wuthering Heights'). Rather than guessing at the reasons behind why Burgess wrote 'ACO', try reading '1985', 'Homage to QWERTYUIOP', 'Little Wilson and the Big God' and the Enderby series (all by the man himself). Then stop pretending that the film's any good at all.
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