Spring 1965 • Vol. XXVII No. 2 Department KR: A Section of Briefer CommentApril 1, 1965 |

The Angry Young Men Revisited

It is ten years since the angry wave blew in on us in Britain, at least if we date it from Lucky Jim; rather less if we are thinking of Look Back in Anger. Somehow, it seems to me longer than a decade since I saw an angry, middle-aged man get up in the stalls of the Royal Court Theatre and, shaking his fist at the actor who played Jimmy Porter, shout, "You swine, you swine!" and presently huff and puff himself out of the stalls to the laughter and claps of first rows full of fellow-feeling. We have traveled far and must take more from the stage and the novel now than the spectacle of a male shrew being eloquently rude to his poor little wife. So much has happened to literature that perhaps the time has come to ask whether the angry '50s were all spume and spray or whether there was substance behind them. Of course, in one sense, the name guaranteed the ephemerality of the movement. No one stays young or angry forever—or poor where sums like $20,000 a year were earned by aspiring a

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