A lucid appraisal of the life and works of the British writer hailed by critics as the literary descendant of D.H. Lawrence
Known primarily for his novels Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner, Sillitoe has written more than fifty books over the last forty years, including novels, plays, and collections of short stories, poems, and travel pieces, as well as more than four hundred essays. In this comprehensive study of the major novels and short stories, Hanson reveals the influences on Sillitoe and the dominant thematic concerns of his works.
Hanson begins her analysis with an account of Sillitoe's early life and his beginnings as a writer during the war years in Nottingham. She carefully examines such literary influences as Lawrence, Victor Hugo, Robert Tressell, Israel Joshua Singer, and Robert Graves. Focusing on Saturday Night and Sunday Morning; The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner; Men, Women, and Children; Her Victory; Leonard's War; and Snowstop, Hanson also considers four dominant themes of Sillitoe's works: the "new" existentialism that grew out of British culture during the 1950s and 1960s; the question of identity in the "love" stories; the use of madness as a necessary step toward freedom; and the complex and defiant characterization of women. Hanson contends that by realistically looking at universal issues and articulating the dilemmas of those unable to do so themselves, Sillitoe has been able to achieve popular and critical success.
Gillian Mary Hanson is a lecturer in the English department of the University of Houston-Downtown. She is a native of Sussex, England.