John Osborne

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Osborne, John

(John James Osborne), 1929–94, English dramatist. He began his theatrical career as an actor and playwright in provincial English repertory theaters. Osborne's plays usually focus on an individual character and the sheer force of his language rather than on action. His first commercial success was Look Back in Anger (1956), concerning a restless and vociferous young man of the working class who is at war with himself and society; it became the seminal work for the so-called angry young menangry young men,
term applied to a group of English writers of the 1950s whose heroes share certain rebellious and critical attitudes toward society. This phrase, which was originally taken from the title of Leslie Allen Paul's autobiography, Angry Young Man
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. His other plays depict the frustration of living without hope in a world filled with false values. Among Osborne's other plays are The Entertainer (1957), Luther (1961), Inadmissible Evidence (1964), A Patriot for Me (1965), The End of Me Old Cigar (1974), Watch It Come Down (1976), and Déjà vu (1991). He also wrote the screenplay for Tom Jones (1963).


See his autobiographies, A Better Class of Person (1981) and Almost a Gentleman (1994); biography by J. Heilpern (2007); studies by H. Goldstone (1982) and A. P. Hinchliffe (1984).

Osborne, John


Born Dec. 12, 1929, in London. British playwright.

Osborne was initially an actor. He began writing in the late 1940’s, collaborating with A. Creighton on The Devil Inside (1949) and other works. The premiere of Osborne’s play Look Back in Anger in 1956 (Russian translation, 1959) is considered the beginning of the literary movement of the “angry young men.” In the play, Osborne depicts postwar British youth, who reject traditional bourgeois values with bitterness and contempt but see no goals worth struggling for. In his subsequent plays (The Entertainer, 1957; Inadmissible Evidence, 1964; West of Suez, 1969; A Sense of Detachment, 1973), Osborne portrays with cutting irony and emotion the crisis of contemporary British intelligentsia and scathingly criticizes the sociopolitical system and social mores of Great Britain.

Osborne’s plays combine elements of naturalism with features reminiscent of B. Brecht; farcical devices are also used along with psychological characterization. The character of Martin Luther in Osborne’s historical tragedy Luther (1961) is also presented as an “angry young man.”


The World of Paul Slickey. London, 1959.
Plays for England. London, 1963.
A Patriot for Me. London, 1965.
In Russian translation:
“Nepodsudnoe delo.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1967, no. 7.


Palievskii, P. “Odinokie medvedi.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1958, no. 2.
Shestakov, D. Sovremennaia angliiskaia drama. Moscow, 1968.
Trussler, S. The Plays of John Osborne. London, 1969. (Bibliography.)
Carter, A. John Osborne. Edinburgh, 1969. (Bibliography.)


References in periodicals archive ?
There used to be a time when a song that was 6 or 7 or 8 minutes long with a long guitar solo, that wasn't a weird concept," John Osborne said.
John Osborne said: "We didn't anticipate another royal visit so soon, so reports of that trip must have been very favourable.
l-r) Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby, Jamie Spencer and his son Charlie, fellow jockey (and race sponsor) Adam Kirby, and organisers John Osborne (CEO Irish National Stud) and trainer Eric Cantillon enjoy the night
Inset left: Christopher John Osborne and (inset right) a barn owl
Prior to speaking with John Osborne, Oizone were a treat that had successfully flown under my particular musical radar, but thanks to the author and playwright my life has been embellished by this particular discovery.
But new boss John Osborne told an Oireachtas committee that such staggering travel bills were necessary and will happen again.
Forster, Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Wolff, John Osborne, Alan Sillitoe, Doris Lessing, and Salman Rushdie.
This excellent biography of John Osborne (1929-94) throws new light on the outspoken and notoriously ascerbic British playwright.
John Osborne, from Armitage, near Lichfield, said: 'It has got to be unpatriotic.
SPORTS coach John Osborne went out drinking while his young charges organised their own training.
Look Back in Anger Play in three acts by JOHN OSBORNE , performed in 1956 and published in 1957.