Archive | June, 2012


Hindsight, Meet Foresight

The best writers of the past are often conceived of as having anticipated the future, but most have preferred to put some distance between themselves and the inherent challenges of confronting either ‘tomorrow’ or ‘today.’ Writing is an act of reflection, and reflection requires the passage of time. Novels not explicitly conceived as futuristic or […]


Life in Brief: Arnold Bennett

27 May 1867:       Enoch Arnold Bennett born in Henley in the Potteries district of England 1876:                      His father Enoch finds a late calling in law, moves the family of six to a larger house 1883:                       At his father’s insistence, Arnold leaves school at age 16 to work for him 1888:                  … fails his law exam and shortly decamps […]


1908: The Old Wives’ Tale

The writer J.B. Priestley, literary heir to Arnold Bennett by way of geography and diversity of output, described The Old Wives’ Tale as having two “suffering heroines, Constance and Sophia Baines, and three conquering heroes, Time, Mutability and Death.” One might alternatively say that Bennett’s classic historical novel has one protagonist, Life, and many handmaidens, […]

Olympic - Potteries

2012: The Potteries

What better marker of time’s turning than yesterday’s passage of the Olympic torch through the Potteries that Arnold Bennett immortalized in our next book, The Old Wives’ Tale? Bennet’s family had been potters for hundreds of years, according to biographer Margaret Drabble and she had this to say about the Potteries in the early 1970s: […]


1907: Riehl House

From The New Yorker: [T]he Riehl House, built for a philosophy professor and his wife near Potsdam in 1907, looks from the front like a two-story stucco cottage with a pitched roof and window shutters, but from the side it is almost abstract. A huge, plain gable overhangs a loggia, below which the land falls […]