(Enoch) Arnold Bennett - Encyclopedia


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"[ENOCH] ARNOLD BENNETT (1867-), English novelist and playwright, was born in the Potteries district, Staffs., May 27 1867. Educated at Newcastle-under-Lyme, he was intended for the law, but abandoned it in 1893 for journalism. He was assistant-editor and then editor of the periodical Woman, but in 1900 gave up journalism and became a prolific writer of books, especially novels illustrating the life of his native district, early examples of which were Anna of the Five Towns (1902) and The Grim Smile of the Five Towns (1907). In 1908 he established his reputation as a novelist with The Old Wives' Tale, followed by the series Clayhanger (1910); Hilda Lessways (191I) and, much later, The Roll Call (1919). But he also adventured into other genres of fiction, sensational, humorous and ironical, of which The Grand Babylon Hotel (1902); Sacred and Profane Love (1905, dramatized 1919); Buried Alive (1908); The Card (1911); The Regent (1913); The Lion's Share (1916) and The Pretty Lady (1918) are examples. His plays, especially The Great Adventure (dramatized in 1913 from the novel Buried Alive); What the Public Wants (1909); The Honeymoon (1911); Milestones (with Edward Knoblock, 1912) and The Title (1918) showed him a master of modern comedy; and he also produced in Judith (1919), a modernized version of the biblical story. In 1920 he published Our Women, a series of essays on modern feminine types and feminist problems.

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