Alan Sillitoe: A Tree on Fire

(2087 words)

A Tree on Fire (1967) is Alan Sillitoe’s fifth novel and the second in the trilogy inaugurated by his previous novel, The Death of William Posters (1965). The “William Posters” of the first volume’s title is a more formal version of “Bill Posters”, the figure of urban myth generated from one of the standard formulations on notices designed to deter fly-posting, “Bill Posters will be prosecuted”. “William Posters”, always hunted though always elusive, functions in the first novel of the trilogy as a symbol of working-class servitude. In that novel, Frank Dawley, eager to kill the “William Posters” within himself, leaves his wife, two young children and a…

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Tredell, Nicolas. "A Tree on Fire". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 October 2012
[, accessed 06 July 2015.]