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).
AuthorEnoch Arnold Bennett. (1867 - 1931). British.
WorkNovelist. Author of the "Five Towns" novels.
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