[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]“If you have formed…literary taste…your life will be one long ecstasy of denying that the world is a dull place.”[/quote]
Enoch Arnold Bennett (Hanley, England, 1867–London, 1931) was a timid and diffident individual, and his stammer did not help him to overcome his timidity. He was a humorous person despite all this, and his best work demonstrates his real talent for satire. He initially worked as a clerk for his father, who had become a solicitor after working as a potter and a schoolteacher. Bennett moved to London in 1889, where he also worked as a solicitor’s clerk. But shortly after moving here, he began writing serial fiction and editing the magazine Woman. He then moved to Paris in 1903, where he was inspired to write the novel that is regarded as his masterpiece: The Old Wives’ Tale (1908). Bennett is best known for using the life of the Potteries (Stoke-on-Trent), referred to as the ‘Five Towns’ in his books, as the background for his work. Some of his major novels are set there: Anna of the Five Towns (1902), Clayhanger (1910), and The Card (1911); the exception being Riceyman Steps (1923), which is set in a district of London. Novelist, playwright, critic and essayist, Bennett gained an immense reputation for himself throughout his life. He died of typhoid after returning from a trip to Paris.