How A Clockwork Orange infiltrated popular culture
As A Clockwork Orange turns 60, and its movie adaptation turns 50, Daniel Benneworth-Gray examines the complex relationship between the book and the film, as expressed by the evolution of its covers over the decades
This year marks the 60th anniversary of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange and the 50th of the UK release of Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation. Few books are so intwined with the imagery of their adaptations, something that was not lost on Burgess, who once said “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”.
While Kubrick’s imagery may now dominate our vision of the novel (much to the displeasure of Burgess, who famously hated the movie version for its glorification of sex and violence), and the dystopian world of its 15-year-old narrator Alex and his gang of droogs, the numerous covers that have accompanied the book over the decades have also done much to cement the story in our collective conscious. Here’s a look at some of the book designs over the years, and how page and screen have influenced one another.
1962 edition, published by William Heinemann Ltd