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Look Back in Anger [Paperback]

John Osborne
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

6 Nov 1978

In 1956 John Osborne's Look Back in Anger changed the course of English theatre.

'Look Back in Anger presents post-war youth as it really is. To have done this at all would be a significant achievement; to have done it in a first play is a minor miracle. All the qualities are there, qualities one had despaired of ever seeing on stage - the drift towards anarchy, the instinctive leftishness, the automatic rejection of "official" attitudes, the surrealist sense of humour... the casual promiscuity, the sense of lacking a crusade worth fighting for and, underlying all these, the determination that no one who dies shall go unmourned.' Kenneth Tynan, Observer, 13 May 1956

'Look Back in Anger... has its inarguable importance as the beginning of a revolution in the British theatre, and as the central and most immediately influential expression of the mood of its time, the mood of the "angry young man".' John Russell Taylor


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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (6 Nov 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571038484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571038480
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

John Osborne was born in London in 1929. Before becoming a playwright he worked as a journalist, assistant stage manager and repertory theatre actor. Seeing an advertisement for new plays in The Stage in 1956, Osborne submitted Look Back in Anger. Not only was the play produced, but it was to become considered as the turning point in post-war British theatre. Osborne's protagonist, Jimmy Porter, captured the rebelliousness of an entire post-war generation of 'angry young men'. His other plays include The Entertainer (1957), Luther (1961), Inadmissible Evidence (1964), and A Patriot for Me (1966). He also wrote two volumes of autobiography, A Better Class of Person (1981) and Almost a Gentleman (1991) published together as Looking Back: Never Explain, Never Apologise. His last play, Deja Vu (1991), returns to the characters of Look Back in Anger, over thirty years later. Both Look Back in Anger and The Entertainer were adapted for film, and in 1963 Osborne won an Academy Award for his screenplay for Tom Jones. John Osborne died on 24 December 1994.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Look back in Anger is not only a classic of the British theatre, it also had reverbatory effects around the world upon its release in the 1950s. The play features some of the most vivious confrontations and acidic language I have ever read, and is ideal material for male and female monologues. Jimmy, the protagonist, has perplexed audiences and directors alike - how can any woman stand to live with him, let alone be drawn back to him after seemingly 'escaping'? But that is the lure of Jimmy's character - his sheer charisma. He is a James Dean for the English middle-classes, without the stunning looks, but with more reasons to rebel. The imagery of the play is at once subtle and exciting: Osborne is a master at creating visual and audio contradictions. In LOOK BACK IN ANGER this is manifested in the contrast between the bestial (animal) imagery, the unbridled lust of the protagonists, and constant reminders of religion, the Church, and the 'proper' society that Jimmy wishes to tear Alison away from. It is a drama of passion, bitterness and regret, with a shocking climax and a disturbingly ambiguous conclusion. Essential reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great play 29 April 2013
By Millie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This play is brilliant - I'd love to see it live. The relationships between the characters are so three-dimensional that even just reading this play, I was completely and utterly sucked into their world. The play is touching, dramatic and unique.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mandatory reading! 30 Jan 2010
By x iLeon
Format:Paperback
I went to Waterstones to check this play because of the many references to both play and author. I was so strongly hooked that I sat there and then and read the whole thing. Then I went on and ordered it all the same, because my library couldn't be missing such a work. The characters are incredibly strong and well defined, big emotions and powerful controversy are stirred, and its a beautifully ironic twist on love and British post-war youth with poetically expressed existentialism/nihilism seamlessly integrated at various moments. This play redefined British theatre (and, for me, youth and pop culture) with its bold subject matter. Read it - see it!

(apologies, when I get really excited about something, like I obviously did here, i find it hard to put into words, but I had to add my review, if nothing else, to restore the deserved balance in the rating)
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3.0 out of 5 stars A level text 25 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Purchased as a set text for my daughter who is taking A levels. Whilst the play itself was quite a radical production in its day, the theme and context are quite dated and rather staid. I guess I would not have purchased it, had it not been a set text.
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5.0 out of 5 stars exceptional 23 April 2013
By john
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A brilliant piece of writing, strong characters with powerful storyline.
A tenacious love triangle involving Jimmy an intelligent, yet disaffected young man, Alison his upper class wife and her best friend Helen. A Welsh lodger Cliff, attempts to keep the peace.
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