|Arnold Bennett - Son of Stoke-on-Trent|
Bennett, (Enoch) Arnold (1867-1931)
Many of the locations in Clayhanger and other Bennett novels are based in "The five towns" and correspond to actual locations in and around the Potteries district of North Staffordshire click here to see details of some of the key locations and buildings.
Bennett did not pursue a career as a writer until after leaving his father's practice and moving to London in 1889 when he won a literary competition in "Tit Bits" magazine. Encouraged to take up journalism full-time he became assistant editor of "Woman" in 1894.
Between the end of 1903 and 1911 Bennett lived mainly in Paris. During this time he continued to enjoy critical success with the publication of many novels including "The Old Wives Tale" (1908). After a visit to America in 1911 where he had been publicised and acclaimed as no other visiting writer had been since Dickens he returned to England where the "Old Wives Tale" was reappraised and hailed to be a masterpiece.
By 1922 he had separated from
his French wife, but shortly thereafter he fell in love with the actress
Dorothy Cheston and lived with her until his death in 1931 from typhoid. His
ashes are buried in Burslem cemetery.
Although Arnold Bennett never returned to the Potteries to live he never forgot the debt which he owed to his birthplace for giving him a unique setting for so many of his novels, a setting which he enhanced with his penetrating description of people and places.
It is perhaps
unfortunate that Bennett felt the "The Five Towns" sounded more
euphonious then "The Six Towns", and thus relegated the town of
Fenton almost to literary oblivion, but as a chronicler of The Potteries he
assured for the district a permanent place in English literature.
questions/comments/contributions? email: Steve Birks