The Card

The Card

Arnold Bennett

Fiction

Set in the raw, Victorian world of the 'Five Towns', The Card tells the extremely funny and tangled story of Denry Machin's rise from mediocrity to fame through a series of ludicrous and yet perversely successful schemes. He dances, pleads, cheats and inspires his way through life in a series of set-pieces which wonderfully evoke a now long-gone world of civic balls, seaside excursions, newspaper boys and patent chocolate remedies. As everybody said after one of his most stylish coups, Denry 'was not simply a card; he was the card.'
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Riceyman Steps(Including 'Elsie and the Child')

Riceyman Steps(Including 'Elsie and the Child')

Arnold Bennett

Fiction

In the work that has been judged the finest of his later novels, (printed here in Bennett's corrected version) Arnold Bennett gives us an unfogettable portrait of a miser and his wife. Henry Earlforward is a second-hand bookseller with a passion for money. He marries Violet Arb, a widow with a fortune of her own, yet he is eaten up by fear and greed. Set against the dark forces of avarice is the Earlford's maid, Elsie, whose love of life, generosity of spirit and warm humanity give Riceyman Steps a fine balance between hopelessness and optimism.'I closed the book at seven in the morning after the shortest sleepless night of my experience ... there I had "Bennett triumphant" without any doubt whatsoever' – Joseph Conrad
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The Old Adam: A Story of Adventure

The Old Adam: A Story of Adventure

Arnold Bennett

Fiction

"And yet," Edward Henry Machin reflected as at six minutes to six he approached his own dwelling at the top of Bleakridge, "and yet--I don\'t feel so jolly after all!" The first two words of this disturbing meditation had reference to the fact that, by telephoning twice to his stockbrokers at Manchester, he had just made the sum of three hundred and forty-one pounds in a purely speculative transaction concerning Rubber shares. (It was in the autumn of the great gambling year, 1910). He had simply opened his lucky and wise mouth at the proper moment, and the money, like ripe golden fruit, had fallen into it, a gift from benign Heaven, surely a cause for happiness! And yet--he did not feel so jolly! He was surprised, he was even a little hurt, to discover by introspection that monetary gain was not necessarily accompanied by felicity. Nevertheless, this very successful man of the world of the Five Towns, having been born on the 27th of May, 1867, had reached the age of forty-three and a half years. "I must be getting older," he reflected. He was right. He was still young, as every man of forty-three will agree, but he was getting older. A few years ago a windfall of Three hundred and forty-one pounds would not have been followed by morbid self-analysis; it would have been followed by unreasoning instinctive elation, which elation would have endured at least twelve hours. As he disappeared within the reddish garden wall which sheltered his abode from the publicity of Trafalgar Road, he half hoped to see Nellie waiting for him on the famous marble step of the porch, for the woman had long, long since invented a way of scouting for his advent from the small window in the bathroom. But there was nobody on the marble step. His melancholy increased. At the midday meal he had complained of neuralgia, and hence this was an evening upon which he might fairly have expected to see sympathy charmingly attired on the porch. It is true that the neuralgia had completely gone. "Still," he said to himself with justifiable sardonic gloom, "how does she know my neuralgia\'s gone? She doesn\'t know." Having opened the front door with the thinnest, neatest latchkey in the Five Towns, he entered his home and stumbled slightly over a brush that was lying against the sunk door-mat. He gazed at that brush with resentment. It was a dilapidated handbrush. The offensive object would have been out of place, at nightfall, in the lobby of any house. But in the lobby of his house--the house which he had planned a dozen years earlier to the special end of minimising domestic labour, and which he had always kept up to date with the latest devices--in his lobby the spectacle of a vile outworn hand-brush at tea-time amounted to a scandal. Less than a fortnight previously he had purchased and presented to his wife a marvellous electric vacuum-cleaner, surpassing all former vacuum-cleaners. You simply attached this machine by a cord to the wall, like a dog, and waved it in mysterious passes over the floor, like a fan, and the house was clean! He was as proud of this machine as though he had invented it, instead of having merely bought it; every day he enquired about its feats, expecting enthusiastic replies as a sort of reward for his own keenness; and be it said that he had had enthusiastic replies. And now this obscene hand-brush! As he carefully removed his hat and his beautiful new Melton overcoat (which had the colour and the soft smoothness of a damson), he animadverted upon the astounding negligence of women. There were Nellie, his wife; his mother, the nurse, the cook, the maid--five of them; and in his mind they had all plotted together--a conspiracy of carelessness--to leave the inexcusable tool in his lobby for him to stumble over. What was the use of accidentally procuring three hundred and forty-one pounds? Still no sign of Nellie, though he purposely made a noisy rattle with his ebon walking-stick.
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The Old Wives' Tale

The Old Wives' Tale

Arnold Bennett

Fiction

'[Arnold Bennett's] superb Old Wives' Tale, wandering from person to person and from scene to scene, is by far the finest 'long novel' that has been written in English and in the English fashion, in this generation.'--H. G. WellsFirst published in 1908, The Old Wives' Tale affirms the integrity of ordinary lives as it tells the story of the Baines sisters--shy, retiring Constance and defiant, romantic Sophia--over the course of nearly half a century. Bennett traces the sisters' lives from childhood in their father's drapery shop in provincial Bursley, England, during the mid-Victorian era, through their married lives, to the modern industrial age, when they are reunited as old women. The setting moves from the Five Towns of Staffordshire to exotic and cosmopolitan Paris, while the action moves from the subdued domestic routine of the Baines household to the siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War. 'Like Wordsworth, [Arnold Bennett] has...
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The Regent

The Regent

Arnold Bennett

Fiction

Enoch Arnold Bennett (May 27, 1867-March 27, 1931). He was born in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, one of six towns in the area known as the Potteries where many of his novels were set.
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Mr. Prohack

Mr. Prohack

Arnold Bennett

Fiction

Mr. Prohack by Arnold Bennett. This book is a reproduction of the original book published in 1922 and may have some imperfections such as marks or hand-written notes.
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Denry the Audacious

Denry the Audacious

Arnold Bennett

Fiction

Arnold Bennett was an English writer best known as a novelist, but he started working in journalism when he won a literary competition hosted by Tit-Bits magazine. Moving up in the world of journalism Bennett became the assistant editor and in short order the editor of the magazine. After leaving the magazine and giving up his editor post he committed himself to writing full time while still devoting time to journalism. During the war he became the Director of Propaganda for France as well as working in film. My mother is far too clever to understand anything she doesn\'t like ~ Arnold Bennett
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Clayhanger

Clayhanger

Arnold Bennett

Fiction

No longer a boy, not quite a man, Edwin Clayhanger stands on a canal bridge on his last day of school, and surveys the valley of Bursley and the Five Towns. Serious, good-natured and full of incoherent ambition, Edwin's hopes and dreams for the future are just taking shape, even as they are put to the test by challenges from Edwin's domineering father, the stifling constraints of society, and an unusual young woman.
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