In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

304 life was a quest for the appropriate aesthetic form to render those values. We might, in closing, recall that in a 1914 letter he wrote of The Rainbow: "Now you will find [Frieda] and me in the novel, I think, and the work is of both of us" (#718). Paniel R. Schwarz Cornell University THE BENNETT TWAYNE Olga R. R. Broomfield. Arnold Bennett. Boston: Twayne Publishers , 1984. $16.95 Arnold Bennett is number 390 in the Twayne's English Authors Series, and when one considers that such minor authors as Ada Leverson have already appeared in the series years ago, one wonders why it took so long to get to a major figure like Bennett. But in such a huge undertaking as this and the other series Twayne has been engaged on for the last two decades or so, both the delays on the authors' part in submitting their manuscripts and on the publisher's part (delays sometimes of several years) in getting them into print have made any sort of regular or logical order impossible . And with 390 volumes, naturally the quality among them has varied greatly. Some are poor pedestrian things, others are definitive, even brilliant. There are more of the former than the latter; one reason is that Twayne imposes a fairly strict uniformity of format, which can cramp or render colorless an author's creativity. However, Olga Broomfield's study of Bennett, even if overdue, is a respectable addition to the series and to the study of Bennett. There are indications that it took a long time to write. The Secondary Sources and the footnotes list no work on Bennett later than 1977 (Anita Miller's annotated bibliography published by Garland). What secondary sources have been used are standard (Allen, Orabble, Hepburn, Lucas, Wright, etc.). Incidentally, "Vernon" Pritchett did not write The Living Novel, V. S. (or call him Sir Victor) Pritchett did. A more important oddity is that there apparently have been no articles on Bennett utilized. None are referred to. Bennett is not in fashion—this is the first book on him in years — but still there are plenty of articles that might have made Professor Broomfield's criticism more acute or more ranging. Her two chief primary sources are James Hepburn's editions of the letters and Newman Flower's and Frank Swinnerton's editions of the journals, and these of course, if there have to be limitations, are wise choices. The main limitation is Bennett himself. Pid ever a man 305 write so much? Just to cover in 142 pages of text those 36 novels alone, not to mention the plays, short stories, operas, essays, travel books, and so on, is a daunting task. But Broomfield has done so. She has apparently read all of Bennett, and who else could say that? Who else would want to? Bennett wrote a lot of vapid and silly stuff as well as a few great or near-great novels. Broomfield covers but dismisses much, and concentrates on ten or so novels that she considers the most important. It is a judicious decision. The better the novel, the more attention she pays it. The 0_ld Wives' Tale gets the most--four teen pages. The City of P leasure and The S inews of War get four sentences between them, the last of which is "Obviously, these novels require no further discussion here." In addition to The p_¿d Wi ves' T^l^, she concentrates on A Man From the North, Anna of the F_¿y_£ Towns, Whom God Hath Joined, Clayhanger, These Twain, Riceyman Steps, Lord Raingo, and lmperia 1 Pa 1 ace, to each of which are devoted four or more pages. It is a pity that Bennett wrote so much since Broomfield , though she neglects nothing, is at her best when she allows herself some elbow room for his better work; her discussions of Anna of the F_iy_£ Towns and C layhanger and Riceyman Steps offer the sort of insight that makes one want to reread the novels. She is not at her best in the obligatory first chapter of "Biography" and "Bennett's View of His Art." Margaret Orabble's wonderful life...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 304-306
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.