Unintentionally hilarious pitch for a well-meaning, one-hour documentary that, based on these clips alone, could easily be retitled Arnold Bennett: The Truth About an Omelette. Off next month: Back in August to wind up the first decade of the 20th century.
A few words of warning from Arnold Bennett on confusing literature and life: It has been asserted that unless I had actually been present at a public execution, I could not have written the chapter in which Sophia was at the Auxerre solemnity. I have not been present at a public execution, as the whole […]
When most effective, the world inhabited by fictional characters strikes the reader as a concrete place and expresses the characters’ shifting emotional states. In The Author’s Craft, Arnold Bennett describes a street as “a mirror, an illustration, an exposition, an explanation, of the human beings who live in it.” In other words, in a novel: […]
Arnold Bennett’s abundant literary output likely reflects the significant stammer he suffered since early childhood. It prevented him from giving public speeches throughout his life and likely contributed to his marrying late. As biographer Margaret Drabble put it: “The hesitance of his speech made him more direct and incisive in his prose, but women do […]
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 […]
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 […]