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The Angry Young Men: A Literary Comedy of the 1950s Hardcover – 16 Sep 2002


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane; First Edition edition (16 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713995327
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713995329
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.6 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 439,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Humphrey Carpenter's books include biographies of Benjamin Britten, Dennis Potter and J R R Tolkein as well as the hugely successful Mr Majeika children's books. He lives in Oxford.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Lee Joon Kyoung on 20 Nov 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting book, even if his definition of the term leaves out most of the working class writers who followed in the wake of the initial public interest in the term.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Colin F. Stanley on 10 July 2003
Format: Hardcover
You feel as if you are on shaky ground from the very first page of this book when the author asserts that Colin Wilson is the "last surviving Angry Young Man". He is not and it is incredible that such a mistake should have crept into a mainstream book (and indeed be reprinted in the paperback edition). Bill Hopkins and Stuart Holroyd - both major characters in this book - are still very much alive and well! Indeed, Holroyd has recently written a Postscript to Tom Greenwell's play about the AYM 'Chepstow Road', published in January 2003. In 1989, they both wrote essays for my book 'Colin Wilson, a celebration' which contained their's and others' recollections of the time. A goldmine for someone researching a book such as this, you would think...and still in print. But no: it does not even appear in Carpenter's bibliography! He seems to have relied heavily (and freely admits this in his Acknowledgements) on Harry Ritchie's book 'Success Stories'. Ritchie's views on Wilson's work in particular are spectacularly spiteful and Carpenter, obviously lacking the ability to assess Wilson as an existential philosopher, follows a little more politely in his wake. And he is clearly out of his depth when he attempts to dismiss Wilson's 'The Outsider' as "rarely rising above the level of an undergraduate essay".
Finally, anyone who has studied the AYM will know that Philip Larkin was never considered to be part of the 'movement'. So the question must be asked: why was so much space devoted to him?
There is a very good book to be written about the AYM - in particular about Wilson, Holroyd and Hopkins - this tame effort has barely scratched the surface.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Sep 2002
Format: Hardcover
Humphrey Carpenter is the literary biographer par excellence for this modern, media-driven age, and the Angry Young Men, the first (as Carpenter points out) media-created literary phenomenon, are his perfect target. This is a very well-written account, and it is appropriately subtitled as a literary comedy : the spectacle of this disparate group of writers being hyped as a movement is indeed funny, as is Carpenter's telling of it - the account of Colin Wilson's megalomanic conviction that he is the best writer of the 20th Century is enough to make you split your sides, for example. Carpenter does fail in his attempt to shoehorn Philip Larkin into this group: he was not associated with them in the popular hype and still isn't, really; conversely, he also misses a few connections that did exist, such as Larkin backing John Wain for his successful Professorship of Poetry at Oxford, for example. But this is a highly recommended book, and one which will probably be the definitive account of the AYM phenomenon for years.
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