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Bennett, Arnold. (1867 - 1931).

W o r k

- a traditional writer accepting literary conventions => famous and successful in his time

- his favourite setting: the five drab towns of the Staffordshire Potteries

- his favourite image: a hotel as a no man's land of comfort, tidiness and impersonality (see his Grand Babylon Hotel)

- works with contrasts: situation x aspiration, enclosure x flight, security x insecurity etc.

Grand Babylon Hotel (1902):

- an early novel

The Old Wives' Tale (1908):

- his masterpiece

- concerned with the divergent fortunes of two sisters

- contrasts the mid- to late 19th century slowly and unwillingly changing English industrial town x turbulent Paris

Clayhanger (1910), Hilda Lessways (1911), These Twain (1916):

- a three-novel sequence set in the Five Towns

Riceyman Steps (1923):

- set in the post-WW I London > recalls physical and spiritual loss and wounding

- concerned with the limited ambitions of a suburban bookseller, his wife, and their barely literate servant

- contrasts the narrowness of the characters' world x the potential of the unopened books on the shelves


"Essential characteristic of the really great novelist: a Christ-like, all-embracing compassion."

Arnold Bennett's Journal (1897).


(Photo: Wikipedia).

  • Author

    Enoch Arnold Bennett. (1867 - 1931). British.
  • Work

    Novelist. Author of the "Five Towns" novels.
  • Genre

    Traditional novel.


Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.

Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.

Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.

Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.

Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.

Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.


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