[Work: A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, 1962]
Burgess’ Myopic Morality:

Why Anthony Burgess’ Infamous A Clockwork Orange is Stronger Without its Original Last Chapter

 

Introduction:

I really think that there is no better demonstration of the valuable insight and truth behind the concept we know as ‘the death of the author‘ than A Clockwork Orange. Anthony Burgess wrote one of the greatest works of philosophical farce of the twentieth century—in many ways as strong in that genre as is Voltaire’s Candide—and then lived out the remaining 30 years of his life without really realizing he had done so. And on the strength of luck (as well as a savvy editor, and later a savvy director), his accidental stroke of genius will be remembered in perpetuity.

Do not mistake this as outright disparagement of Burgess’ abilities as an artist. Far from it, I think he was a clever writer, a subtle reader of classic literature, and a capable composer. But I also think that he was too old-fashioned, moralistic, and traditionally intellectual to notice the real virtues of his work in A Clockwork Orange.

And the great book that he decried (his own), which became the great film that he decried (Kubrick’s), was something that he dedicated much time and effort to denigrating in his later years. He sneered at it and dismissed it whenever it came up, and—most egregiously, from my perspective—he worked hard to ensure that a weaker version of the book (which he successfully marketed as the true version of the book) became the primary version available to the world.

The nature of this article is such that it requires spoiling basic plot details of A Clockwork Orange, so you should only continue reading after this paragraph if you either do not mind spoilers or have already read the book (or seen its 1971 film adaptation).

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[Work: A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, 1962]
Burgess’ Myopic Morality:

Why Anthony Burgess’ Infamous A Clockwork Orange is Stronger Without its Original Last Chapter

was last modified: September 11th, 2016 by Daniel Podgorski

[{Interview}] [Topics: Existentialism, Philosophy of Art, Utopia, Utilitarianism]

Interview with Nabra Nelson,

A Theatre Professional who Calls Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World a Utopia, Not a Dystopia

 

Introduction:

Brave New World book cover - Nabra Nelson - Aldous Huxley - utopia vs. dystopiaThe philosophical issues raised by Aldous Huxley’s Brave New WorldNabra Nelson - Aldous Huxley - Brave New World - utopia vs. dystopia are myriad, touching on everything from the philosophy of science to metaethics. As it stands, Brave New World is often named one of the three great dystopian novels of the twentieth century, alongside We by Yevgeny ZamyatinNabra Nelson - Aldous Huxley - Brave New World - utopia vs. dystopia and 1984 by George OrwellNabra Nelson - Aldous Huxley - Brave New World - utopia vs. dystopia. The subject of today’s article is an interview with daring young theatre director Nabra Nelson. What interested me in pursuing this interview is that I became aware that Nelson—approaching Brave New World from what in philosophical terms is essentially an existentialist and pragmatic perspective—considers the society in Huxley’s novel to be a utopia rather than a dystopia. So I sat down with Nabra Nelson at the Casa Escobar Inn in Malibu, California to ask her about her peculiar take on this classic novel.

The Interview:

Hello, Nabra. Thanks for taking the time to meet with me today. The meat of our discussion is a novel by Aldous Huxley: Brave New World, sometimes called one of the three greatest dystopias of the twentieth century. But as I understand it, you wouldn’t even call it a dystopia. From your perspective, this might stand alongside works in an older genre (begun by Thomas More’s original UtopiaNabra Nelson - Aldous Huxley - Brave New World - utopia vs. dystopia) as a vision of an actual utopian society—regardless of Huxley’s own position. Could you start by talking in general about your experience of reading the novel, and how you came to this conclusion?

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[{Interview}] [Topics: Existentialism, Philosophy of Art, Utopia, Utilitarianism]

Interview with Nabra Nelson,

A Theatre Professional who Calls Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World a Utopia, Not a Dystopia

was last modified: November 11th, 2016 by Daniel Podgorski

[Work: The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood, 1985]
The Once and Future America:

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and the Consequences of (American) Society Yielding to Fear

 

One unfamiliar with the novel, or unfamiliar with Margaret Atwood, might be understandably mistaken about what sort of book lies behind the unassuming title The Handmaid’s TaleThe Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood. The name conjures up images of Victorian romance and understated drama which could not be further from the reality: a brutal piece of mid-1980s dystopian fiction about life in a theocratic America.

A decade and a half before Atwood won the Booker prize for The Blind Assassin, the Canadian author was nominated for the award (and a host of others) for this mid-80s work of considerable power and brilliance. Anyone who prizes the introduction of more traditional ideals into a country’s governance ought to equip an open mind and give this chilling tale a read.

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[Work: The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood, 1985]
The Once and Future America:

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and the Consequences of (American) Society Yielding to Fear

was last modified: April 6th, 2016 by Daniel Podgorski