Arnold Bennett

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Enoch Arnold Bennett (27 May 1867 – 27 March 1931) was an English novelist.

Contents

Early life

Bennett was born in a modest house in Hanley in the Potteries district of Staffordshire. Hanley is one of a conurbation of six towns which joined together at the beginning of the twentieth century as Stoke-on-Trent. Enoch Bennett, his father, qualified as a solicitor in 1876, and the family were able to move to a larger house between Hanley and Burslem.[1] The younger Bennett was educated locally in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Arnold was employed by his father - his duties included rent collecting. He was unhappy working for his father for little financial reward, and the theme of parental miserliness is important in his novels. In his spare time he was able to do a little journalism, but his breakthrough as a writer was to come after he had moved from his native Potteries. At the age of twenty-one, he left his father's practice and went to London as a solicitor's clerk.

The George Hotel in Burslem Stoke on Trent has a restaurant named after Bennett. It is adorned with Arnold Bennett photographs and memoribilia. Later after the theatre in London he would often go to the Savoy Hotel for dinner where his favourite dish was an omelette made with smoked haddock, parmesan cheese and cream. It is now known as the Arnold Bennett omelette.

Career

Journalism

Bennett won a literary competition in Tit-Bits magazine in 1889 and was encouraged to take up journalism full time. In 1894, he became assistant editor of the periodical Woman. He noticed that the material offered by a syndicate to the magazine was not very good, so he wrote a serial which was bought by the syndicate for 75 pounds. He then wrote another. This became The Grand Babylon Hotel. Just over four years later, his first novel, A Man from the North, was published to critical acclaim and he became editor of the magazine.

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