Page extent: 124
ISBN: 9781840029031
Binding: PaperBack

Before Anger: Two Early Plays by John Osborne

John Osborne

PaperBack (25 Jun 2009)

The first performance of Look Back in Anger in 1956 ushered in a new period of British theatre, and its success established the previously unknown John Osborne as a new playwright of the first rank. Contrary to popular perception, Look Back was not Osborne's first play to be performed, and two of his early plays had already enjoyed professional productions. Copies of the scripts, thought to have been lost, were rediscovered in the British Library in 2008, and are presented for the first time here.

The Devil Inside Him (1950) was the 21 year-old Osborne's earliest attempt at a full-length play, and concerns a young Welshman, Huw, at odds with the hypocrisy and imaginative poverty of his community. It was re-written with help from Osborne's then-lover, Stella Linden.

Personal Enemy (1955) was written with Anthony Creighton with whom Osborne later collaborated with on Epitaph for George Dillon. Set in small-town America during summer of 1953 - at the height of the anti-communist witch-hunts - the play tells the story of a family torn apart by a country's political, and sexual, paranoia.

Additional Information

ISBN13 9781840029031
Binding PaperBack
Page Extent 124


The Devil Inside Him:

"Eerily anticipating Pinter's The Birthday Party as well as his own later work, Osborne turns The Devil Inside Him from a rep thriller into a vehement protest against ruling orthodoxy." - Michael Billington, The Guardian

"Sixty Years on, salvaged with care and devotion, it's quality of bravura assurance astounds." - Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph

Personal Enemy:

"This is the second play in recent months to shatter the myth that John Osborne was a theatrical neophyte when he burst onto the scene with Look Back in Anger. This gripping piece tackles the paranoia pervading middle America at the time of the McCarthy hearings... It is not difficult to see the play as a metaphor for the persecution of homosexuals in 1950s Britain." - Michael Billington, The Guardian