More than 50 years after the publication of Anthony Burgess’s dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange, London-based publisher the Folio Society presents a striking new visual interpretation of the story by UK-based illustrator Ben Jones.
The edition’s black leather hardback cover incorporates the bowler hat and exaggerated eyelashes of the costumes in Kubrick’s film, which have become the most recognizable emblem of A Clockwork Orange. The cover features an embossed silhouette of a man with clock parts where his brain should be, a powerful visual metaphor for the psychological experiments at the heart of the book.
Along with the cover comes a series of seven steampunk-inflected collages, rendered in a stark color palette of black, white, red, brown, and navy. “I like the idea of my work having a bit of subtle menace to it,” Jones says in an interview filmed by the publishers.
To avoid mimicking Stanley Kubrick’s strong visual style in his 1972 film adaptation, Jones purposely refrained from watching the film while working on the commission. Though “Kubrick is a big part of the book becoming immortal,” he says, he wanted to stay true to Burgess’s vision. Jones’ artistic style has more in common with the grotesque, satirical violence of German Expressionist painters like Otto Dix than with Kubrick’s retro-futurism. As Folio Society editor Tom Walker says: “It feels tonally similar to what Burgess is doing in the book.”
The Folio Society’s 2014 illustrated edition of A Clockwork Orange is available here for $56.95.