A "group biography" of the Angry Young Men - a journalistic catchphrase applied to writers like John Osborne, Kingsley Amis, Colin Wilson, John Braine, and John Wain, who shook up the cosy, stale cultural values of mid 1950s Britain. There may be more important literary movements than the Angry Young Men but there can be few as consciously (or unconsciously) entertaining. The Angry Young Men were an absurdly diverse group, often wildly at odds and, indeed, often wholly unacquainted with each other. This cavalcade of misunderstandings, wild statements, mediocrity and genuine achievement can now be seen as an example of how the media can both help and ruin literature.
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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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