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

A business columnist’s perspective on The Old Wives’ Tale

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Daniel Akst.


For a writer, Arnold Bennett was a pretty good businessman. He earned enough from his prodigious output to buy not just one yacht but two — and the second was so vast, it required a crew of eight. Unjustly forgotten today, Bennett was a literary dreadnought in his own right during the first third of the last century. And unlike his squeamish fellow intellectuals in Britain, who shared the upper class’s disdain for “trade,” he was fascinated by business, which figured strongly in his work. His most popular book, The Old Wives’ Tale, overflows with insights great and small on business, the role of commerce in social change, and the struggles of women to make their way in a commercial world. It also happens to be one of the greatest novels in the English language.

A full report will appear in the Arnold Bennett Society June newsletter

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