To celebrate the publication of the new Penguin Classics edition of A Clockwork Orange, The International Anthony Burgess Foundation hosted an exciting ‘Day of the Droogs’ themed event. Showcasing work from nine speakers from a variety of subjects, this was an opportunity to delve deeper into the literary and cultural significance of Anthony Burgess’ most famous novel, as well as learn more about the close connection and collaborations between the Foundation and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).
Featuring speakers such as Dr Robert Ralphs, Dr Hannah Smithson and Professor Steven Miles, each panel captured the attention of the bustling audience, filled with academics, students and members of the public. The event is part of the popular Humanities in Public (HiP) programme, which focuses on inviting the public to engage further with Humanities, and offers a series of exciting lectures and events through the Institute of Humanities and Social Science Research (IHSSR).
After Professor Biswell’s warm introduction, Dr Melanie Tebbutt caught the audience’s attention with her paper, The Passions of Youth, which, she claimed, was not as sexual as it sounded.
Other particularly memorable lectures were those of Peter Kramer, from the University of East Anglia, with an enlightening paper focusing on the controversy of the popular Kubrick film adaptation of the novel, and Professor Berthold Schoene’s eye-opening breakdown of issues of masculinity in his paper, We Need to Talk About Alex.
Professor Schoene highlighted the uniqueness of the event before his lecture, explaining that, “the idea for this event comes out of a two-fold rationale: firstly, that Andrew has recently restored an edition of A Clockwork Orange, and secondly, that at this event people aren’t just talking about the novel as literature – there are criminologists [Dr Ralphs and Dr Smithson] here to talk about gang culture, and other speakers from other disciplines focusing on subculture and social issues.”
This collaboration between departments made this event one to remember. Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes’ lecture ‘A Real Horrorshow: (Ultra-)Violent Cinema and A Clockwork Orange’ offered a humorous and fascinating feature, with some censoring to benefit the younger students in the audience.
The new Penguin Classics edition, A Clockwork Orange: The Restored Edition, features a foreword by Martin Amis and is edited by Professor Andrew Biswell. With an eye-catching new cover and an assortment of extra material, such as a Nadsat glossary and pages from the original manuscript, its release no doubt will send fans of Burgess’ work running to bookstores!
Alex is an English student at MMU. She is passionate about good coffee, boring films and ridiculously long books. She would like her writing to be seen and hopefully one day published. You can read her blog here.