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

Winter 2020 – Volume 6. No. 10

Article Published:

FROM THE ASSISTANT EDITOR

‘I have a great passion for this new sport of bicycling … Arguably the bicycle has liberated a whole generation of youths, done a great deal (indirectly through the bloomers) for the emancipation of women and changed the kinship structure of British village life, possibly saving a pocket of rural England from genetic decline.’ So wrote Bennett in 1897, and his passion is very much in evidence in Nicholas Redman’s retracing of the cycling holiday he and Marguerite took in France in 1907. As ever, one marvels at Bennett’s energy and also his ability to capture his surroundings succinctly with a telling detail – though admiration is here tinged with some sympathy for Marguerite, whose enthusiasm and stamina appear to have been sorely tested.

Towards the end of 2020 the Society received the sad news of the death of John Potter. John was one of the Society’s most committed and hard-working Chairs and played a central role in shaping it into the successful, thriving organisation we enjoy today. Jenny Graveson, who knew John both as a colleague and as a friend, provides a tribute.

Elsewhere in this issue, Leslie Powner tells how he has been making good use of his time in lockdown by reading two of Bennett’s lesser- known works, The Night Visitor and From the Log of the Velsa; while John Shapcott introduces us to Eden Phillpotts’s Lying Prophets, a novel probably even fewer of us have read, despite its being championed by our former editor Alan Pedley and indeed by Bennett himself. Three excellent choices to add to our to-read lists.

In November, after the inevitable series of pandemic-related delays, we were finally able to hold the AGM and the Arnold Bennett Book Prize ceremony via Zoom. Jerry Park reports on this joint meeting.

And for those of you wondering about the second part of the Ruth Bennett interview, unfortunately, there wasn’t enough space to include it this time. It will now appear in the Spring 2021 issue, when we also look forward to Randi Saloman returning to the editor’s desk. As many of you will know, Randi has had more urgent matters than the ABSNL on her mind recently – namely the arrival in November of Ranger Sebastian Louis Saloman. I’m sure you will join me in sending congratulations and very best wishes to Randi.

Rod Boroughs

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