From The Author’s Craft: On observation as a “moral act” and a novelist’s duty: Observation endows our day and our street with the romantic charm of history and stimulates charity – not the charity which signs cheques, but the more precious charity which puts itself to the trouble of understanding. On the geography of characters: […]
An omelette named after an author? It sounds like a scene from one of Bennett’s “sensationals.” Actually, it’s a longstanding dish (distinguished by the addition of smoked haddock, Parmesan cheese and cream) on the menu of London’s Savoy Hotel. As the story goes, the Savoy’s chefs first whipped up this frothy, fishy concoction when Bennett […]
Having first met Joseph Conrad “toward the end of the last century” at the house of H.G. Wells, Arnold Bennett recalled the older man in the pages of the Evening Standard, a few years after Conrad’s death: Even then, from the way he talked, one could perceive at once and all the time that creative […]
From How to Live on 24 Hours a Day: You get into the morning train with your newspaper, and you calmly and majestically give yourself up to your newspaper. You do not hurry. You know you have at least half an hour of security in front of you. As your glance lingers idly at the […]
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 […]
One confession from Oliver Herford’s 1917 collection. Click on the image for more.
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 […]
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, […]
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: […]
Happy 150th Birthday, Mr. Klimt!