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Walter Brierley Biography

(1900–72), Means Test Man, Sandwich Man, Dalby Green, Danny

English novelist, born in Waingroves, Derbyshire, of a mining family. Brierley became a miner himself and after attending Workers' Educational Association classes he won a miners' union scholarship to Nottingham University; however, unable to adjust to academic life, he returned to the pit. He sent an early manuscript to John Hampson, who passed it to Walter Allen; it aroused both writers' attention for its portrayal of a coal miner humiliated by the means test, and Brierley was encouraged to write what was to be his best-known novel, Means Test Man (1935). The novel remains a study of the effects of unemployment on a sensitive mind, and a cry of pain and outrage at the indignity of no longer having status or function in the community. Far from being a proletariate, the novel today appears more middle-class in tone. Brierley subsequently wrote the less distinguished Sandwich Man (1937), Dalby Green (1938), and Danny (1940), and became an education welfare officer in Derby until his retirement in 1965.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Bridgnorth Shropshire to Anthony Burgess [John Anthony Burgess Wilson Burgess] Biography