Looking Back

John Osborne

Looking Back by John Osborne gathers the autobiographical writing – A Better Class of Person and Almost a Gentleman – of the enormously important playwright behind Look Back in Anger.

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When John Osborne died at Christmas 1994, his obituaries cited his autobiographical writings as perfect examples of undiluted talent and acerbic wit. Now, Osborne’s superb autobiographies, A Better Class of Person: 1929-1956 and Almost a Gentleman: 1955-1966 (winner of the J. R. Ackerley Prize), are available for the first time in one volume, Looking Back.

‘A brilliant, funny, melancholy and acrimonious book of memoirs . . . Almost every page confirms that his powers as an elegist, definer of the Zeitgeist and master of unforgiving disgust remain undimmed.’ Observer

This volume also contains ‘Bad John’, a review by Alan Bennett of A Better Class of Person, and David Hare’s eulogy for John Osborne at the memorial service for Osborne in 1995.


John Osborne was born in London in 1929. Before becoming a playwright he worked as a journalist, assistant stage manager and repertory theatre actor. Seeing an advertisement for new plays in The Stage in 1956, Osborne submitted Look Back in Anger. Not only was the play produced, but it was to become considered as the turning point in post-war British…

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