A Clockword Orange

Read anything good recently? You don't have to write a review. If it was good, mention it here. If it was rotten, mention it here.

Please include both the name of the book and its author(s) in the title of your posting. Our gratitude for your considerateness will be your reward!
Post Reply

A Clockword Orange

Post by PhilHunt » Tue May 12, 2009 7:39 am

I was doing a reading from a Clockwork Orange the other day with my class. Any of you familiar with the book will know that Burgess 'created' a slang vocabulary for the characters; an imagined future slang. The idea of the lesson was to get my students to read the context around the word and guess as to its meaning. As my students are Italian they had little problem with the words lifted from Latin; such as, 'veck' for an old man. What surprised me though was the Russian student in my group had no trouble at all with much of the terminology, as it was almost all lifted in its entirety from Russian. I was not aware that Burgess had done this. I was always told in my English classes that he 'altered' words (Vecchio (pronounced: ve-ky-o) > veck) but terms such as droog (friend) and korova (cow) are identical to the original Russian words. So, while doing my lesson I got to learn a bit of Russian too. It made me appreciate the book more too.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: That which we cannot speak of, must be passed over in silence...or else tweeted.

Re: A Clockword Orange

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue May 12, 2009 8:23 am

Your mention of the Russian word 'korova' ('cow') reminds me of Vladimir Nabokov's observation (I think it he made it in his autobiography, Speak, Memory) concerning the unusual parallel similarity of the three words in both English and Russian for cow, crown and crow [the bird]: in Russian, the terms are respectively корова [korova], корона [korona] and ворона [vorona].
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: -- Looking up a word? Try OneLook's metadictionary (--> definitions) and reverse dictionary (--> terms based on your definitions)8-- Contribute favourite diary entries, quotations and more here8 -- Find new postings easily with Active Topics8-- Want to research a word? Get essential tips from experienced researcher Ken Greenwald

Re: A Clockword Orange

Post by PhilHunt » Tue May 12, 2009 9:14 am

Interesting Erik. I wonder if it is related to a PIE term common in each. Perhaps there is some relationship between 'sacred cow', 'divine rule' and 'divination' common in both societies which harkens back to pre-Christian social orders.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: That which we cannot speak of, must be passed over in silence...or else tweeted.

Re: A Clockword Orange

Post by zmjezhd » Thu May 14, 2009 1:25 pm

veck

Most derive veck from Russian человек (chelovek) 'person, man': (see link). (The editions of A Clockwork Orange published in the States up to the middle of the '80s, omitted the 21st and final chapter, in which Alex is redeemed.) I believe Burgess used Russian to show how the UK was going to hell in its post-WW2 flirtation with socialism. My favorite Nadsat words are horrowshow (< хорошо khorosho 'well, good'), gulliver (< голова golova 'head'), and yarbles 'balls, stones' (< яблоко yabloko 'apple'). Are you familiar with Burgess' novel, The Doctor Is Sick? It's protagonist is a linguist. It's partially based on Burgess' teaching English in Malaysia.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Re: A Clockword Orange

Post by PhilHunt » Thu May 14, 2009 5:14 pm

I heard about the US version of the book omitting the final positive-message chapter. Apparently, it was the decision of the US publisher. Although, I cannot think why he would have made that decision. This is cited as the reason Kubrick never included it in the film version.

When you say
I believe Burgess used Russian to show how the UK was going to hell in its post-WW2 flirtation with socialism
do you mean it is your thoughts or those of literary commentators? I have to admit that the last time I looked at the book was when I was a teenager. All I remember was my English teachers telling me that he 'invented' the words. I guess they never really knew.

I'm afraid I'm more familiar with Burgess' writings on art, pornography and censorship, as I studied fine art at university and his writing often came up in books on the subject. I'll hunt down The Doctor Is Sick, as it sounds interesting.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: That which we cannot speak of, must be passed over in silence...or else tweeted.

Re: A Clockword Orange

Post by zmjezhd » Fri May 15, 2009 4:22 am

do you mean it is your thoughts or those of literary commentators?

I think I got some of that from going over works on Kubrick's film version, but I might have also gotten it from some lit crit book now long forgotten.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Re: A Clockword Orange

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri May 15, 2009 5:02 am

That the UK is currently going to hell would be difficult to refute.

More open to question is whether the cause is an excess of socialism, capitalism or illiberality.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: -- Looking up a word? Try OneLook's metadictionary (--> definitions) and reverse dictionary (--> terms based on your definitions)8-- Contribute favourite diary entries, quotations and more here8 -- Find new postings easily with Active Topics8-- Want to research a word? Get essential tips from experienced researcher Ken Greenwald

Re: A Clockword Orange

Post by Phil White » Fri May 15, 2009 10:04 am

Erik_Kowal wrote:That the UK is currently going to hell would be difficult to refute.

More open to question is whether the cause is an excess of socialism, capitalism or illiberality.
A complete failure on the part of leaders in politics, finance and industry to even begin to grasp the rudiments of the meanings of words like uprightness and integrity.

I have always been unwilling to use the term "nanny state", but now I get it. Our great leaders are judging the citizens of this country by their own shabby standards and imagine that because they have no conception of integrity and rectitude, neither do we. Because they need to be monitored in everything they do, they imagine that we do too. Come back Guy Fawkes, all is forgiven.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

Re: A Clockword Orange

Post by PhilHunt » Fri May 15, 2009 10:30 am

That's what happend when you get 'managers' governing a country. They're good with figures but don't have an ounce of humanity. Things in Italy are much worse though. When the current Prime Minister steps aside, Blair style, the next Prime Minister will be the leader of the right-wing party that grew out of Mussolini's facist party. It still upsets me the amount of students I have who profess support for the far right, facism and even Hitler. My Great Grandfather fled nazi Germany, so it doesn't sit well with me.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: That which we cannot speak of, must be passed over in silence...or else tweeted.

Re: A Clockword Orange

Post by Phil White » Fri May 15, 2009 12:07 pm

If only we had "managers"! Educationalists running the education department, economists and financial experts running the exchequer. Instead we have dilettantes. Managers who have learned to manage well would be far better than a bunch of people whose only qualification is that they feel they are sufficiently superior to tell others what to think and do.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

Re: A Clockword Orange

Post by PhilHunt » Fri May 15, 2009 5:50 pm

When I say 'managers' I mean career managers. People who have not studied the topic they are managing, only how to manage people. This makes them incredibly ignorant of the subject they are managing but highly skilled at telling those who do know about it what to do. Often they are very good at presenting figures and charts as facts to dazzle the masses.
I totally agree with you Phil about the majority of politicians being dilettantes, but hasn't it always been that way? Upper classes telling lower classes what they think they should do so as to keep the pockets of the upper classes sufficiently lined with gold.
Oh dear, I'm going to get a reprimand soon if I don't stop.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: That which we cannot speak of, must be passed over in silence...or else tweeted.

ACCESS_END_OF_TOPIC
Post Reply