In the Words of Arnold Bennett (7): Careless Condescension

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Edward Elgar c.1900

‘ “It’s only the Elgar,” he said, with careless condescension, perceiving at once, by the mere virtue of a label, that the music was not fine and not Russian. He really loved music, but he happened to be at that age, from which some people never emerge, at which the judgment depends almost completely on extraneous suggestion.’ (The Roll Call, 1918)

 This quotation is the seventh part of a series dedicated to the work of the great Edwardian writer Arnold Bennett (1867-1931), on whom we will be co-hosting a symposium (‘Arnold Bennett and His Circle’) at Keele University on 17th-18th October. More details here.

In the Words of Arnold Bennett (6): On Beauty

Samuel Peploe, 'Interior with a Japanese Print' c.1915 (University of Hull)

Samuel Peploe, ‘Interior with a Japanese Print’ c.1915 (University of Hull)

‘Edwin had never heard the word “beautiful” uttered in quite that tone, except by women, such as Auntie Hamps, about a baby or a valentine or a sermon. But Mr. Orgreave was not a woman; he was a man of the world, he was almost the man of the world; and the subject of his adjective was a window!’ (Clayhanger, 1910)

‘When the smock was finished he examined it intently; then exclaimed with an air of surprise: “By Jove! That’s beautiful! Where did you get this pattern?” He continued to stare at it, smiling in pleasure. He turned over the tattered leaves of the embroidery book with the same naïve, charmed astonishment, and carried the book away to the studio. “I must show it to Swynnerton,” he said. As for her, the epithet “beautiful” seemed a strange epithet to apply to a mere piece of honest stitchery done in a pattern, and a stitch with which she had been familiar all her life. The fact was she understood his “art” less and less. The sole wall decoration of his studio was a Japanese print, which struck her as being entirely preposterous, considered as a picture. She much preferred his own early drawings of moss-roses and picturesque castles – things that he now mercilessly condemned.’ (The Old Wives Tale, 1908)

This quotation is the sixth part of a series dedicated to the work of the great Edwardian writer Arnold Bennett (1867-1931), on whom we will be co-hosting a symposium (‘Arnold Bennett and His Circle’) at Keele University on 17th-18th October. More details here.

In the Words of Arnold Bennett (5): Reconsidering Fundamental Opinions

A Melbourne Clog-Dan cer, 1894

A Melbourne Clog-Dancer, 1894

‘Edwin was staggered. The blood swept into his face, a hot tide. He was ravished, but he was also staggered. He did not know what to think of Florence, the champion female clog-dancer. He felt that she was wondrous; he felt that he could have gazed at her all night; but he felt that she had put him under the necessity of reconsidering some of his fundamental opinions.’ (Clayhanger, 1910)

This quotation is the fifth part of a series dedicated to the work of the great Edwardian writer Arnold Bennett (1867-1931), on whom we will be co-hosting a symposium (‘Arnold Bennett and His Circle’) at Keele University on 17th-18th October. More details here.

In the Words of Arnold Bennett (4): Industrial Picturesque

'The Yellow Wall, Blackburn,' Charles Holmes

‘The Yellow Wall, Blackburn,’ Charles Holmes

“See here,” said Myners, “isn’t that pretty?” He pointed through the last window to a view of the canal, which could be seen thence in perspective, finishing in a curve. On one side, close to the water’s edge, was a ruined and fragmentary building, its rich browns reflected in the smooth surface of the canal. On the other side were a few grim, grey trees bordering the towpath. Down the vista moved a boat steered by a woman in a large mob-cap.

“Isn’t that picturesque?” he said.

“Very,” Anna assented willingly. “It’s really quite strange, such a scene right in the middle of Bursley.”

“Oh! There are others,” he said. “But I always take a peep at that whenever I come into the warehouse.”

(Anna of the Five Towns, 1902)

This quotation is the fourth part of a series dedicated to the work of the great Edwardian writer Arnold Bennett (1867-1931), on whom we will be co-hosting a symposium (‘Arnold Bennett and His Circle’) at Keele University on 17th-18th October. More details here.

Arnold Bennett and His Circle: Registration Open

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REGISTRATION NOW OPEN: ‘ARNOLD BENNETT AND HIS CIRCLE’

The Old Library, Keele Hall, KEELE UNIVERSITY 17TH-18TH OCTOBER 2014

The Edwardian Culture Network, in association with the Arnold Bennett Society, is delighted to announce that registration is now open for ‘Arnold Bennett and His Circle’.

At once both a commercially-successful and an experimental writer, Bennett’s range encompassed commercial fiction and naturalism, self-help books and short stories, journalism and science-fiction. Though he was held in high esteem by many of his contemporaries, Bennett’s critical reputation has suffered over the course of the twentieth century. ‘Arnold Bennett and His Circle’ will present Bennett as an icon of the Edwardian age, fundamental to our understanding of the period, and a writer whose work needs to be considered specifically in an Edwardian context. It will also explore Bennett’s relevance and legacy to twenty-first century readerships.

Confirmed speakers include Professor David Amigoni (Keele University), Professor Ruth Robbins (Leeds Beckett), and Professor Deborah Wynne (University of Chester).

The cost of the weekend is £20, which includes a guided walk of Burslem by John Shapcott, a noted authority on Bennett. To register, please visit: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/arnold-bennett-and-his-circle-tickets-12718692953?aff=es2

Due to the terms of our room booking, we will be unable to provide delegates with lunch and refreshments. However, there are a number of food and retail outlets available on the Keele University campus. For more information about these, please see: http://www.keele.ac.uk/foodanddrink/restaurantsbars/

Download conference poster: Bennett and His Circle Poster14

In the Words of Arnold Bennett (3): Like Threading a Needle

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‘…the assembly, including several urchins, watched with held breath while Aunt Harriet, after having bid majestic good-byes, got on to the step and introduced herself through the doorway of the waggonette into the interior of the vehicle; it was an operation like threading a needle with cotton too thick. Once within, her hoops distended in sudden release, filling the waggonette. Sophia followed, agilely.’ (The Old Wives Tale, 1908)

This quotation is the third part of a series dedicated to the work of the great Edwardian writer Arnold Bennett (1867-1931), on whom we will be co-hosting a symposium (‘Arnold Bennett and His Circle’) at Keele University on 17th-18th October. More details here.

In the Words of Arnold Bennett (2): A Singular Dog

A Late Victorian Poodle

A Late Victorian Poodle

‘Presently she saw a singular dog. Other people also saw it. It was of the colour of chocolate; it had a head and shoulders richly covered with hair that hung down in thousands of tufts like the tufts of a modern mop such as is bought in shops. This hair stopped suddenly rather less than halfway along the length of the dog’s body, the remainder of which was naked and as smooth as marble. The effect was to give to the inhabitants of the Five Towns the impression that the dog had forgotten an essential part of its attire and was outraging decency. The ball of hair which had been allowed to grow on the dog’s tail, and the circles of hair which ornamented its ankles, only served to intensify the impression of indecency. A pink ribbon round its neck completed the outrage. The animal had absolutely the air of a decked trollop.’ (The Old Wives Tale, 1908)

This quotation is the second part of a series dedicated to the work of the great Edwardian writer Arnold Bennett (1867-1931), on whom we will be co-hosting a symposium (‘Arnold Bennett and His Circle’) at Keele University on 17th-18th October. More details here.