Angry young Luther: in 1961 anti-establishment playright, John Osbourne, put the protestant reformation at the centre of his play

27 September 2017 | by Susan Dowell

Luther at 500


I was in my last year at school when John Osborne was writing Luther. We had “done” the Reformation in our history lessons, but the only visible legacy I noticed was the handful of girls who were let off morning assembly because they were Roman Catholic. Lucky things!

For the less fortunate Protestant majority, the turmoil unleashed by Luther’s (alleged) nailing of his 95 theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg in 1517 appeared to be safely in the past and unless one was going on to read history at university or, less likely back then for girls, theology, there was no burning need to revisit it.

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