Anthony Burgess (1917-1993)

There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, Dim being really Dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar making up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening, a flip dark chill winter bastard though dry. The Korova Milkbar was a milk-plus mesto, and you may, O my brothers, have forgotten what these mestos were like, things changing so skorry these days and everybody very quick to forget, newspapers not being read much neither. Well, what they sold there was milk plus something else. They had no license for selling liquor, but there was no law yet against prodding some of the new veshches which they used to put into the old moloko, so you could peet it with vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom or one or two other veshches which would give you a nice quick horrorshow fifteen minutes admiring Bog And All His Holy Angels And Saints in your left shoe with lights bursting all over your mozg. Or you could peet milk with knives in it, as we used to say, and this would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of dirty twenty-to-one, and that was what we were peeting this evening I'm starting off the story with.

--from A Clockwork Orange

Born 25th February 1917. The author who will always be remembered for his eighth book, The Clockwork orange, was born Jack Wilson in a small house in Harpurhey, the son of a bookkeeper and part-time pianist, and the musician/dancer he met at the Ardwick Empire. When he was a baby he was found lying in his cot with his mother and sister dead beside him, both victims of Spanish flu.

Burgess went to Bishop Bilsborrow Primary School, Moss Side, Xavarian College, and Manchester University, spent six years as a war-time soldier, and then went into education, eventually becoming education officer in Malaya and Brunei. Invalided at home in 1959 with a terminal illness, he became a professional writer in the hope that in his final year he would provide some security for his wife. The medical diagnosis was wrong, and Burgess stayed with his new carreer, writing more than 30 novels and other books.

This prolific and often controversial writer once created a storm when he returned to his native city and said: "As a piece of civic planning, or rather unplanning, I think it's terrible."

Burgess Links Clockwork Orange Perspectives Nadsat Glossary

"Anthony Burgess made up a teenage argot he calls Nadsat. It is English with a polyglot of slang terms and jargon thrown in. The main sources for these additional terms is Russian. Although there are also contributions from, Gypsy, French, Cockney/English slang and other miscellaneous sources such as Malay and Dutch (possibly via the Dutch influence on Malay) and his own imagination. The large number of Russian words in Nadsat is explained in the book as being due to propaganda and subliminal penetration techniques. This is probably because of the cold war (which was still quite "warm" when Burgess wrote ACO) which, in Burgess's ACO world, has apparently shifted into overdrive."