If there’s one thing literary types like, it’s a good controversy.
Don’t let the literary world fool you—they may snub their nose at celebrity gossip, but replace “Paris Hilton” with “Jonathan Franzen,” and suddenly their ears perk up.
I find it interesting that, out of the first 43 books I’ve read and researched from the Time list, the large majority of the novels—or at least the authors—have been through some type of small controversy at some point.
Noticing that trend, I put together some of the more memorable “controversies” or rumors—some of which still linger today.
Well, it’s that time again.
Time for me to justify my nonsensical, totally arbitrary, ridiculously-easy-to-criticize rankings of the books I’ve read to this point. Lev Grossman explained why Time didn’t rank the novels in my interview with him, but I guess the football fan in me decided I had to do rankings of some sort.
So, without further needless explanation, here’s my explanation of my rankings of the books I’ve read since my last ranking update.
This is a difficult book to review.
Depending on which version of the book you’ve read (revisit this post from last week for more detail on that), your understanding of the story could be totally different than mine.
According to the book’s original author, Anthony Burgess, the answer to that question is a resounding “yes.” He explains:
“The book I am best known for, or only known for, is a novel I am prepared to repudiate: written a quarter of a century ago, a jeu d’esprit knocked off for money in three weeks, it became known as the raw material for a film which seemed to glorify sex and violence. The film made it easy for readers of the book to misunderstand what it was about, and the misunderstanding will pursue me till I die. I should not have written the book because of this danger of misinterpretation.” — Anthony Burgess on A Clockwork Orange (from A Flame Into Being: The Life and Works of D.H. Lawrence)
“Horrorshow” meaning “good” in nadsat, for anyone who isn’t familiar with the slang Russian-inspired language from A Clockwork Orange.
I mentioned in my preview of A Clockwork Orange that Entertainment Weekly listed the movie version of the book as the second most controversial film of all-time.
Seriously, when the movie was originally released, the American version was rated X. Kubrick went back and edited some of the explicit scenes to make it an R-rated re-release in 1973. I’ve never seen the movie, and I probably don’t intend to. The book is disturbing enough, at least the first few chapters.
Despite its graphic, violent nature, the film is critically acclaimed, receiving an Academy Awards nomination for best film in 1971. Of note, the film doesn’t include scenes from the final chapter of A Clockwork Orange‘s most recent version–the version that Anthony Burgess actually preferred.
Hang on for this one. It should be a freaky and interesting ride.
A Clockwork Orange is only my second re-read since I started this blog. If you’re keeping score at home, my first was The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.
I first read Anthony Burgess’ weird classic in college, about 11 years ago, and I’m interested to see what I think of it this time around. Time to brush up on my nadsat, I guess.
A few quick facts about A Clockwork Orange:
Here are your choices.
So the photo above displays the next five books (#24-28) I’ll be reading from the Time list. Today, you tell me which one to read first.
Here are the choices: