Meet the Blokes

In an effort to replace the phrase "Angry Young Man" as a nickname for British authors who earned notice in the 1950s, Pace University professor David Castronovo has dubbed this group of literary luminaries and their successors simply "blokes." In a new book, Blokes: The Badboys of British Literature, Castronovo profiles Kingsley Amis, John Osborne, Alan Sillitoe, John Braine, and others. Unfortunately for Castronovo, his definition of the word does not quite match the dictionary's. A “bloke” is a regular, if perhaps especially genial, guy. The collection of writers featured in this book are by and large neither of these things: they are known more for being "difficult, aggressive and self-centered," writes John Gross in an unfavorable Wall Street Journal review.