Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

James A. Lowrie


By common acknowledgement the revolution in the history of modern English drama came with John Osborne's Look Back in Anger, first seen at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in May 1956. British plays in the past, according to Henry Popkin, showed "mainly the upper and upper-middle classes... When some serious emotional crisis arose, their special concern was always to show their good taste and breeding by refusing to express their emotions." Look Back in Anger impressed the critics mainly because of "the outspokenness of its language, its open criticism of establishment values, and its articulate, thoughtful working-class hero." The historical significance of this play is articulated by John Russell Brown, "Look Back in Anger was herald of many plays that took even more liberties. A new sense of reality swept all restrictions away." John Russell Taylor summarizes that the playwrights who respond to this new aspect of realism in British theatre have two distinguishing features: "...their tremendous variety... and the fact that the great majority of them have working-class origins." Social mobility brought by the Second World War has largely destroyed social barriers in Britain, and many of the writers who have emerged from working class to middle class have felt alienation from their families. David Storey, both novelist and playwright, is a typical example.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Tien-ti Wang



Date Available

May 29, 2013

File Format


File Size

113 pages