The Grim Smile of the Five Towns (Modern Classics)

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9780140005196: The Grim Smile of the Five Towns (Modern Classics)

"The Grim Smile of the Five Towns" from Arnold Bennett. English writer (1867-1931).

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About the Author:

Bennett was born in a modest house in Hanley in the Potteries district of Staffordshire. Hanley was one of the Six Towns that were joined together at the beginning of the 20th century as Stoke-on-Trent and are depicted as "the Five Towns" in some of Bennett's novels. Enoch Bennett, his father, qualified as a solicitor in 1876, and the family moved to a larger house between Hanley and Burslem. Bennett was educated in Newcastle-under-Lyme. In 1889 Bennett won a literary competition run by the magazine Tit-Bits and was encouraged to take up journalism full-time. In 1894 he became assistant editor of the magazine Woman. He noticed that the material offered by a syndicate to the magazine was not very good, so he wrote a serial that was bought by the syndicate for 75 pounds (equivalent to 10,000 in 2015). He then wrote another. This became The Grand Babylon Hotel. Just over four years later his novel A Man from the North was published to critical acclaim and he became editor of the magazine. In 1900 Bennett gave up the editorship of Woman and dedicated himself to writing full-time. However, he continued to write for newspapers and magazines while finding success in his career as a novelist. In 1926, at the suggestion of Lord Beaverbrook, he began writing an influential weekly article on books for the London newspaper the Evening Standard. One of Bennett's most popular non-fiction works was the self-help book How to Live on 24 Hours a Day. His diaries have yet to be published in full, but extracts from them have often been quoted in the British press. Bennett separated from his French wife in 1921 and fell in love with the actress Dorothy Cheston (b. 1896), with whom he stayed for the rest of his life. She changed her last name to Bennett, although they were never married. They had one child, Virginia, born in London in 1926. In 1923 Bennett won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his novel Riceyman Steps. Bennett died of typhoid at his home in Baker Street, London, on 27 March 1931, after returning from a visit to Paris where, in defiance of a waiter's advice, he had drunk tap water in a restaurant.

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Arnold Bennett
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