The study and appreciation of the life, works and times of Arnold Bennett

Books

Helen With the High Hand – Edited by John Shapcott

Written as light entertainment, Arnold Bennett’s Helen With the High Hand was published in 1910  in the Staffordshire Sentinel.  Appearing between those two great masterpieces The Old Wives’ Tale (1908) and Clayhanger (1910), it is proof of Bennett’s astounding ability to write prolifically and across genres.  Bennett’s portrait of Burslem (Burslem) is never less than affectionate […]

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The Regent – Edited by John Shapcott

In The Card Arnold Bennett created one of fiction’s memorable comic characters, the irrepressible Denry Machin.  We meet I’m again in The Regent.  At age 43 he is feeling jaded and in need of fresh horizons to explore.  This is a funny and affectionate story of traditional community values pitted against the glamour of London sophistication.  Bennett […]

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Riceyman Steps – Edited by John Shapcott

Arnold Bennett’s 1923 prize-winning novel Rieyman Steps is one of the great modernist masterpieces of the twentieth century.  The seemingly simple story is about a second-hand bookseller and miser, Henry Earlforward who courts and marries the sprightly widow Violet Arb.  Their devoted servant, Elsie, is finding it difficult to cope with her shell-shocked lover, Joe.  This quartet plays […]

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The Price of Love Book Cover

The Price of Love – Edited by John Shapcott

Arnold Bennett’s penultimate Five Towns novel is a vivid and dramatic portrayal of provincial society about to change for ever with the outbreak of World War 1.  It is a picture of traditional private behaviour and the inevitable march of public profess, whether in commerce, transport or entertainment. In Rachel Fleckring, Bennett has created another of his strong sympathetic heroines, […]

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The Pretty Lady – Edited by John Shapcott

There is no finer novel of civilian life during The Great War than Arnold Bennett’s The Pretty Lady.  Written during the conflict itself, it has the narrative thrust of great storytelling together with the sensationalism of popular journalism.  The book became a bestseller in 1918, despite calls for it to be banned for undermining public morality with its […]

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Leonora – Edited by John Shapcott

“She was walking, with her customary air of haughty and rapt leisure, across the market-place of Burslem, when she observed in front of her, at the top of Oldcastle Street, two men conversing and gesticulating vehemently, each seated along in a a dog-cart.” In Leonora Arnold Bennett depicts the emotional fortunes of his beautiful heroine as she is […]

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The Card – Edited by John Shapcott

The Card is Arnold Bennett’s most popular novel and its hero, Denry Machin, has become one of fiction’s most memorable characters. Denry’s story has universal appeal.  It tells of the unlikely rise of its hero from a poor working class single parent family to become the admired and loved Mayor of Burslem.  Denry’s cheeky Chappy exploits are often questionable […]

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Clayhanger – Edited by John Shapcott

Clayhanger is Bennett’s totally engrossing portrait of life in the Potteries in Victorian times as seen through the eyes of Edwin Cayhanger, from leaving school to early manhood.  Amongst the large cast of memorable characters surrounding Edwin are his printer father, Darium, whose tyrannical nature was shaped  by the brutality of the workhouse; his sensual, provocative […]

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Arnold Bennett’s Uncollected Short Stories – Edited by John Shapcott

Published together for the first time, these stories are a valuable and entertaining addition to the Arnold Bennett canon.  they offer a treasure house of gems taken from the Golden Age of magazine short stories.  Spannine forty years from late-Victorian Britain to the 1930’s Depression, they take us on a journey from London to the Potteries and […]

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{Piccadilly – Edited by John Shapcott

The German fit director E. A Dupont’s film version of Arnold Bennett’s Piccadilly was released in 1929 to critical acclaim.  Today it is recognised as one of the last great silent movies.  John Shapcott’s critical edition of the novel on which the film is based explores the intertwining of book and film to asses Bennett’s place as a novelist in cinema history. 

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