“Angry Young Men” Express Working-Class Views (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: Novels and plays by new, mostly working-class writers termed by journalists the “Angry Young Men” expressed widespread alienation and social discontent in mid-1950’s Great Britain.
Summary of Event
Although the “Angry Young Men” who emerged during the mid-1950’s and early 1960’s are often referred to as a “movement,” these novelists and playwrights were never part of a coordinated literary group. Although their political orientation was generally left of center and certainly opposed to the status quo, they adhered to no specific doctrine or ideology. The term, which appears to have been inspired by the title of the novel Angry Young Man (1951) by the Irish writer Leslie Paul, became a journalistic catchphrase used to describe a number of writers, many of whom were of working-class origin and were from the English provinces rather than London, the traditional center of English literary culture. The fact that their iconoclastic attitudes, stylistic vigor, raucous humor, and working-class characters and settings were similar has often caused these authors’ individuality and distinct differences to be overlooked.
Many novels from the period feature protagonists who, like their creators, were young, irreverent, brash, and profane; they celebrate individuality, berate conformity, defy conventional behavior, and delight in subverting traditional institutions. Some,...
(The entire section is 2142 words.)
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