Angry Young Men

  • A journalistic catch-phrase loosely applied to a number of British playwrights and novelist from the mid 1950’s.
  • Often applied to the British ‘kitchen sink’ playwrights of the 1950s.
  • Adverse impacts of World War II helped to create several new traditions in literature. One such movement was Angry Young Men Movement.
  • The phrase was originally coined by the Royal Court Theatre’s press officer in order to promote Osborne’s 1956 play Look Back in Anger
  • It is sometimes said to derive from the title of a work by the Irish writer Leslie Paul, Angry Young Man (1951).
  • They were mostly of working class or of lower middle-class origin.
  • It was popularized through John Osborne’s play Look Back in Anger (1956).
  • Kingsley Amis, John Arden, Stan Barstow, Edward Bond, John Braine, Michael Hastings, Thomas Hinde, Stuart Holroyd, Bill Hopkins, Bernard Kops, John Osborne, Harold Pinter, Alan Sillitoe, David Storey, Kenneth Tynan, John Wain, Keith Waterhouse, Arnold Wesker, Colin Wilson are writers included in this group.
  • Chiefly represented a rebellious and critical attitude towards the postwar British society. 
  • They expressed scorn and disaffection with the established sociopolitical order of their country.
  • A major concern in Angry Young Men Movement writings is the dissatisfaction of the lower-class towards the established socio-political system.
  • They criticized the hypocrisy of the middle and the upper classes. 
  • They depicted the abject position of the youth in society. 
  • Their work revolted against all the accepted norms and ideals.
  • Their novels and plays typically feature a rootless, lower-middle or working-class male protagonist to express their thoughts.
  • In the 1960s these writers turned to more individualized themes and were no longer considered a group.
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