Helter skelter, topsy-turvy and ‘loonycolour’: carnivalesque realism in 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning'

Minogue, S. and Palmer, A. (2002) Helter skelter, topsy-turvy and ‘loonycolour’: carnivalesque realism in 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning'. English: The Journal of the English Association, 51. pp. 127-143. ISSN 0013-8215.

PDF (Final Author Version. This may differ slightly from the published version.)

Download (77kB)


Saturday Night and Sunday Morning has been reductively sidelined as “working class realism” where that term implies a mere reportage of grim reality. Such a view ignores the joyously subversive spirit alive in the novel. This essay argues that the “glorious loonycolour” of Arthur Seaton’s internal world has a transformative effect on external reality. Through Arthur’s consciousness, the pubs and fairgrounds of 1950s working class culture become a transgressive, carnivalesque site of inversion, an energetic, death-defying topsy-turveydom. Sillitoe, then, does violence to realism and allows us, if only temporarily, to see reality in a different, and radically optimistic, way. At the same time, his version of the carnivalesque is less romanticised than Mikhail Bakhtin’s, since he is alive to the dangers of containment which lurk at its heart. This awareness climaxes in Arthur’s move towards matrimony, an institution which may contain his vitality or provide a new outlet.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English Literature > PR0001 Literary history and criticism
P Language and Literature > PR English Literature > PR6000 1900-1960
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English and Language Studies
Depositing User: Users 2 not found.
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2010 13:24
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2016 04:12
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/4064

Actions (login required)

Update Item (CReaTE staff only) Update Item (CReaTE staff only)


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics


Connect with us

Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00