In this, the first volume of an ambitious trilogy intending to trace the parallel lives of a man and woman from youth to marriage and from marriage to old age, Bennett introduces the character of Edwin Clayanger. A sober portrait of a boy growing up under a tyrannical father contrasts with young Edwin's glimpses of the mysterious and tantalizing Hilda Lessways. As the lives of these two characters unfold before us, Bennett uses autobiographical detail to beautifully depict the constraints and spiritual adventures of young life in the Potteries.
Arnold Bennett was a playwright, essayist, critic and journalist. Born in Hanley, Stoke on Trent, and the eldest child of a pawnbroker who had bettered himself and become a solicitor. He became a solicitors clerk at frist in his father's office, and from 1889 in London. He joined the staff of Woman magazine and later became editor. His first novel to be published, A Man From the North appeared in 1898. He went on to write is famous Five Towns Novels, but never returned to the Potteries of his birth. He died on 27 March 1931 from typhoid shortly after a visit to France. His ashes are buried in the cemetery at Burslem, Stoke on Trent. His grandson, Denis Eldin, is the President of the Society and lives in Paris. The Society have just published "Punch & Judy" Arnold Bennett and Silent Cinema, with an introduction by John Shapcott, Keele University - further details on our website at www.arnoldbennettsociety.org.uk