Nadsat - the language of violence: from novel to film

Israel Alves Correa Noletto, Margareth Torres de Alencar Costa


Nadsat, an artificial language constructed by Anthony Burgess, is used in his novel, apparently, as means both of immersion of the reader, alienation and repulsion. Kubrick’s filmic adaption of A clockwork orange recognizes the paramount role of Nadsat, and gives life to it as a spoken language through the lines of Alex and his droogs in his homonymous production. The aim of the present article is thus to examine the author’s artificial language, its occurrences in the novel as well as in the filmic adaptation following the contributions of Gualda (2010) and Hutchings (1991) to the cinema study, while tracing the glossopoeia’s meanings and effects on the audience, and how both the author and director seem to manipulate the implications of the reception theory as formulated by Wolfgang Iser (1978). The questions answered by this article are: Does the role played by Nadsat in the novel correspond to that played in the film? How are the implications of Iser’s reception theory in the novel and the film? The results will show that without an understanding of Nadsat the reader/viewer will not be able to fill the gaps of interpretation left by Burgess and Kubrick.


Nadsat; A Clockwork Orange; Novel; Film; Reception Theory

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