Arnold Bennett


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Arnold Bennett
BirthplaceHanley, Staffordshire, England
Occupation
Novelist

Bennett, Arnold

(Enoch Arnold Bennett), 1867–1931, English novelist and dramatist. One of the great 20th-century English novelists, Bennett is famous for his realistic novels about the "Five Towns," an imaginary manufacturing district in northern England. Bennett's early career included editing the fashionable magazine Woman and writing literary reviews and articles. About 1900 he began to devote himself industriously to his own work, producing a series of excellent regional novels. Influenced by the naturalismnaturalism,
in literature, an approach that proceeds from an analysis of reality in terms of natural forces, e.g., heredity, environment, physical drives. The chief literary theorist on naturalism was Émile Zola, who said in his essay Le Roman expérimental
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 of Zola, he depicted in great detail the grim, sometimes sordid, lives of shopkeepers and potters. His attitude toward his characters was one of affectionate sympathy, and he always managed to make their mundane lives interesting. Bennett's best work is contained in his novels of the "Five Towns," which include Anna of the Five Towns (1902), The Old Wives' Tale (1908), the trilogy Clayhanger (1910), Hilda Lessways (1911), and These Twain (1916). Bennett also achieved considerable success as a playwright, most notably with Milestones (1912), written with Edward Knoblock, and The Great Adventure (1913).

Bibliography

See his journal (3 vol., 1932–33); biography by M. Drabble (1974).

Bennett, Arnold

 

Born May 27, 1867, in Hanley, Staffordshire; died Mar. 27, 1931, in London. English writer.

After graduating from the university, Bennett worked as a clerk and a jurist. His first story was published in 1895. In The Old Wives’ Tale (1908), a story of two sisters appears as a tragedy of inevitable aging. In the social novels of everyday life Anna of the Five Towns (1902), Clay hanger (1910), and its sequel Hilda Lessways (1911), Bennett realistically portrays a provincial region that is turning into an industrial center. The novel Lord Raingo (1926) is a satire on the nouveaux riches who made their fortune during World War I (1914–18). The author has also written plays and critical essays, including The Truth About an Author (1903) and “Literary Taste” (1909).

WORKS

The Journals .... London, 1954.
The Grim Smile of the Five Towns. London, 1928.
Letters, vol. 1. London, 1966.
In Russian translation:
“Leonora.” Russkaia mysl’, 1913, NOS. 3–5.
Kar’era pisatelia. Moscow-Berlin, 1925.
Londonskie rasskazy. Petrograd, 1923.

REFERENCES

Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1958.
Davis, O. H. The Master. . . . London, [1966].
Barker, D. Writer by Trade. . . . London [1966].
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