The study and appreciation of the life, works and times of Arnold Bennett
From the Journals of Arnold Bennett 1904
Paris: Monday, February 29th
Last night seemed to be one of the bitterest we have had in the present cold spell; yet I noticed a number of people sitting out quite unconcernedly on the terrasses of the cafes on the Grand Boulevard. Some cafes had thick mats spread over the terrasse, and one had a coke brazier red and smoky, set among the tables.
Paris: Sunday, February 28th
I finished another section of ‘A Great Man’ yesterday at 3.30 p.m., having written nearly 10,000 words in a week. I ought easily to complete the book by March 20. It seems amusing enough, and very good in places. But if I treated this as a draft, and rally thought out types and made the bookseller, I could make it much better. However, I had a mania for producing a lot just now. And further, this sort of book, though I can do it, is scarily my natural genre. I do not take quite the same satisfaction out of a passage which I know to be well done. And often I have the greatest difficulty in starting my day’s work. I am all right when I have started. But the starting is penible.
Paris: Friday, February 26th
Same industrious sort of day as previous days. I finished at 11.30. I have been reading more of Mercier’s ‘Tableau de Paris’. It is a charming book. The chapters ‘Heures du jour’ and ‘Marchandes des modes’, for example, are perfectly wonderful illustrations of how, exactly, that light, descriptive, worldly witty, higher-journalism kind of thing out to be done. Thisbook and ‘Notes sur Angleterre’, and about four newspapers a day, constitute all my reading just now.