ALAN SILLITOE AND THE BRITISH CLASS SYSTEM.

ALAN SILLITOE AND THE BRITISH CLASS SYSTEM. Alan Sillitoe has died. His books SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING and THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER (and the movies made from them (with breakthrough roles for Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay respectively) made a huge impression when I was young. I was struck that several of the obituaries speak of Sillitoe’s being a working-class writer because I had read this review by D. J. Taylor a couple years ago. The review pointed out that Sillitoe grew up in a family that was below the working class—poorer than working class—and he had trouble getting his early books published because they were considered inauthentic descriptions of working-class life. Taylor generously dismisses as a half wit the “left-wing reader at Victor Gollancz who detected an imposture (‘an attempt by a writer with no experience of proletarian existence to make money by inciting contempt for decent working people’)….” This obituary in the Guardian says that SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING was rejected by five mainstream publishing houses who “proclaimed that Sillitoe’s representations of working-class existence were based upon a bizarre dystopian hypothesis.” And yet Sillitoe wound up being glibly summarized as a “working-class writer.”

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One Response to ALAN SILLITOE AND THE BRITISH CLASS SYSTEM.

  1. Mary Jane Schaefer says:

    I’d like to know Michael Caine’s opinion.

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