Osborne, John. (1929 - 1994).
W o r k
- freed the theatre of the formal constraints of the former generation, introduced a new kind of drama challenging the middle-class virtues of ‘the well-made play’
- shifted emphasis on language, theatrical rhetoric, and intensive emotions
- revolutionary not in form or politics x but: in its concern with ‘the issues of the day’, its rancour, its language, and its setting
- no more the country drawing-rooms with its platitudes and its sherry x but: the provincial bed-sitters with its noisy abuse and its ironing-board
- no more the theatrical illusion of a neat, stratified, and deferential society x but: the dramatic representations of untidy, antagonistic, and disenchanted characters grating on one another’s, and society’s, nerves
- 1950s - 1960s: shocks his audiences into responsive attention x later period: his social vision gets out of fashion, his plays decline in quality, and he ends up as a writer having lost both his way and his audience
Look Back in Anger (1956):
- the protagonist, Jimmy Porter, succeeds to marry a wealthy girl, ends up in an uneven marriage, and gives way to his anger in a tyranny of his wife
- the play emphasizes language: verbal attacks on the university graduates employed in second-rate jobs, their unfulfilled emotional life, the society, etc.
- Jimmy is the only character of the Angry Young Men to embrace anger as his life philosophy
> supplied the name for the ‘Angry Young Men’ movement
The Entertainer (1957):
- employs the metaphor of the dying music-hall tradition as standing for the moribund state of the British Empire
The World of Paul Slickey (1959):
- a musical satirizing the tabloid press
- concerned with the life of the archetypal rebel Martin Luther
Inadmissible Evidence (1964):
- concerned with a frustrated solicitor at a law firm
- uses his characteristically soaring rhetoric venom to powerful effect
A Patriot for Me (1965):
- concerned with the turn-of-the-century homosexuality
The Hotel in Amsterdam (1968):
- won him the prize for the best play of the year
AuthorJohn James Osborne. (1929 - 1994). British.
WorkPlaywright. Author of Look Back in Anger (1956).
GenreAngry Young Men. Social play.
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"Don't clap too hard--it's a very old building."
From The Entertainer (1957).