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Angry Young Men

Angry Young Man, Look Back in Anger, Almost a Gentleman

john osborne fearon

a term that, starting in the mid-1950s, was loosely applied to some of the younger, more alienated and abrasive British dramatists and novelists of the period, among them Alan Sillitoe, John Braine, John Wain, and especially John Osborne. Though the expression is sometimes said to derive from the title of a work by the Irish writer Leslie Paul, Angry Young Man (1951), its probable inception was an offhand remark by George Fearon, the press officer at the Royal Court when Look Back in Anger was first staged there in 1956. According to its author, Osborne himself, in his memoirs Almost a Gentleman, Fearon ‘looked at me cheerfully as if he were Albert Pierrepoint [the state executioner] guessing my weight: “I suppose you're really an Angry Young Man”.’ The same catch-phrase, repeated to journalists, became ‘a boon to headline-writers ever after’.

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