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Alex’s Voice in A Clockwork Orange: Nadsat, Sinny and Cold War Brainwashing Scares

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Anthony Burgess, Stanley Kubrick and A Clockwork Orange

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in Adaptation and Visual Culture ((PSADVC))

Abstract

Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange was published in 1962, the same year as John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate was released. Both feature strange but apparently timely fantasies about the possibilities of brainwashing. In the case of A Clockwork Orange, these include both the Ludovico technique and Nadsat. Burgess denied that Soviet Bloc Totalitarian regimes were implicated in his depiction of brainwashing. However, as Peter Krämer discusses, the larger contemporary narratives about the subject were more ideologically complex. This chapter explores Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange in the light of trans-Atlantic brainwashing scares that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s. The chapter will also comparatively consider Kubrick’s adaptation of the novel noting how the film also delivers a meta-cinematic commentary on the mind-altering powers of cinema itself. Focusing on Alex’s voice and shifts in his language, this chapter addresses a gap in the scholarly literature on the soundtrack of the film, which has so far been dominated by considerations of its music.

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Correspondence to Joy McEntee .

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McEntee, J. (2023). Alex’s Voice in A Clockwork Orange: Nadsat, Sinny and Cold War Brainwashing Scares. In: Melia, M., Orgill, G. (eds) Anthony Burgess, Stanley Kubrick and A Clockwork Orange. Palgrave Studies in Adaptation and Visual Culture. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-05599-7_11

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