Alan Sillitoe

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Sillitoe, Alan,

1928–2010, English writer, b. Nottingham. The son of an illiterate tannery worker, he grew up in poverty, left school at 14, and was himself a factory worker as a teenager. One of the angry young menangry young men,
term applied to a group of English writers of the 1950s whose heroes share certain rebellious and critical attitudes toward society. This phrase, which was originally taken from the title of Leslie Allen Paul's autobiography, Angry Young Man
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 of the 1950s and 60s, Sillitoe achieved widespread acclaim (and remains best known) for the novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958, film 1960) and the short story The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1959, film 1962). These early works are blunt, realistic accounts of the narrow existences, alienation, and rebellions of working-class Englishmen. Sillitoe published more than 50 books, including poetry, e.g., Barbarians (1973), essays, e.g., A Flight of Arrows (2003), travel books, e.g., Gadfly (2007), children's literature, e.g., Marmalade Jim at the Farm (1980), and other novels, e.g., The Widower's Son (1976), Out of the Whirlwind (1988), and Birthday (2001), and short-story collections, e.g., The Ragman's Daughter (1963, film 1974), The Second Chance (1980), and New and Collected Stories (2003).


See his semiautobiographical family history, Raw Material (1973, repr. 1987), and his autobiography, Life without Armour (1995, repr. 2004); biography by R. Bradford (2008); studies by A. R. Penner (1972), S. S. Atherton (1979), P. Hitchcock (1989), G. M. Hanson (1999), and J. Sawkins (2001).

Sillitoe, Alan


Born Mar. 4, 1928, in Nottingham. English writer.

The son of a worker, Sillitoe served with the British air forces in Malaya from 1946 to 1949. Early in his career he was strongly influenced by the ideology and literary methods of D. H. Lawrence. Sillitoe’s first novel, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958; film of the same name, 1960), determined his literary approach: the depiction of worker protagonists rebelling against the boredom of everyday existence; other examples were the novels Key to the Door (1961; Russian translation, 1963) and The Death of William Posters (1965).

Although Sillitoe critically depicts human relations in an industrial society and portrays the life and mores of workers, he does not envision an ideological and political quest on the part of his heroes (the novels A Tree on Fire, 1967, and Travels in Nihilon, 1971). In 1972 he published the autobiographical Raw Material. Sillitoe visited the USSR in 1963.


The General. London, 1960.
The Ragman’s Daughter, and Other Stories. London, 1963.
Road to Volgograd. London, 1964.
The Flame of Life. London, 1974.
In Russian translation:
Odinokii begun. Moscow, 1963.
“Nachalo puti.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1973, nos. 8–11.


Ivasheva, V. V. Angliiskaia literatura: XX vek. Moscow, 1967. Pages 356-67.
Ivasheva, V. V. Angliiskiedialogi. Moscow, 1971. Pages 464-505.


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