Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange is rarely considered in terms of psychopharmacology. Furthermore, the connection between the novel and the development of neuroscience—including the use of drugs that affect the brain—has yet to be considered. This essay explains the function and representation of drugs in the novel within the context of neuroscience’s development during the 1960s. I argue that the novel engages the dynamics among psychopharmacology, neuroscience, and psychiatry, and investigates how these specialties function within Western culture to mediate between dominant and subordinate divisions. As such, a neuroscientific reading of A Clockwork Orange articulates how counterculture perverts psychopharmacology, driving it away from the normalizing discourses of psychiatric power (as it is used to correct deviant mental states). Simultaneously, it demonstrates the failures of the politics of a reactionary, fear-based neuroscience. Ultimately, the novel both reflects on and intervenes in a critical biopolitical shift in regulating the brain.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 101-123
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.