Welcome to our blog!

It's better than a bat in the eye with a burnt stick!

This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

And make sure to visit The Arnold Bennett Society for expert information and comment on all aspects of the life and work of AB.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


Friday, October 22nd., Villa des Nefliers, Fontainebleau.

Extraordinarily beautiful morning in the forest and ideas for the second act  arrived one after the other in a manner very creditable to them. 

Letters from Frank Harris and Wells and his friend about "The Glimpse". But really I have had very few letters about it. Wells describes it as 'a glimpse into an empty cavern' of my mind. Not sure what that is meant to mean!

Nothing in Mr. Arnold Bennett's former work has prepared his readers for the point of view from which his new novel is written. Leaving the affairs of this world with which he has hitherto been exclusively occupied, Mr. Bennett kills his hero in the tenth chapter, although he causes him to return again to his body in the last book of the story. The author's account of the flight of the soul at death cannot be called very convincing, though it is at all times interesting to know the theories which people form on this subject ; but whether such matters are fit themes for fiction is another question. The book, apart from these psychical chapters, is decidedly disagreeable in tone, but makes strongly for a moral standpoint, for the soul of the hero returns to earth with the conviction that nothing in this life matters save the quickening of - spiritual understanding. Ordinary criticism of a work of fiction seems out of place when dealing with such a subject as this, and the only thing which remains for the reviewer is to describe the scope and aim of the book and to leave it to the reader to determine its quality.
Review of "The Glimpse" in The Spectator, November 1909.

I am not convinced about the second part of the book myself, but I am sure that the 1st and 3rd parts are as good as the best I can do. Some people who like the 2nd don't care for the 3rd: which unfortunately shows that they have not understood the 2nd. Also I am now supposed to be a Theosophist, a Hegelian and all sorts of things. The second part is simple Theosophy, nothing else, and taken bodily therefrom (with improvements); but I have now made Theosophy serve my turn, & I have done with it. I read Mrs. Besant three times, and made fresh notes every time, in order to do the 2nd part; a fearful grind; & the Theosophical Society ought now to reprint my 2nd part as one of their official publications; it is infinitely more graphic and coherent than any of their own tracts. I liked 'Bond Street'. Enough. What interests me now is the sales.

Theosophy refers to systems of esoteric philosophy concerning, or investigation seeking direct knowledge of, presumed mysteries of being and nature, particularly concerning the nature of divinity. Theosophy is considered a part of the broader field of esotericism, referring to hidden knowledge or wisdom that offers the individual enlightenment and salvation. The word esoteric dates back to the 2nd century CE. The theosophist seeks to understand the mysteries of the universe and the bonds that unite the universe, humanity, and the divine. The goal of theosophy is to explore the origin of divinity and humanity, and the world. From investigation of those topics, theosophists try to discover a coherent description of the purpose and origin of the universe. Annie Besant (1847 – 1933) was a prominent British socialist, theosophist, women's rights activistwriter and orator and supporter of Irish and Indian self-rule.In 1890 Besant met Helena Blavatsky and over the next few years her interest in theosophy grew while her interest in secular matters waned. She became a member of the Theosophical Society and a prominent lecturer on the subject. In 1907 she became president of the Theosophical Society, whose international headquarters were in Adyar, Madras, (Chennai).

I shall positively appear in the Five Towns early in December, and remain there at least two weeks. I must have at least two weeks with Mr. Dawson, the bookseller and printer. My next hero's father is the pater + Mr. Beardmore = a steamprinter. Dawson has printed three Christmas books for me and is a prime source of information about the Potteries. He is also a magistrate and a student profoundly versed in the psychology of the Five Towns.

Pauline Smith is here, is beginning a novel, and has half an hour's remarks from me every night. My remarks are really rather good. Strange girl. She can write. But she won't talk. However we make her, at least Marguerite does. She says: "Now Pauline, you have let the conversation fall." She is already better.
See also 'A bad night' - November 14th., -

Additionally for October 22nd., see 'Famous men' -

This is my idea of fame:

At an entertainment on board H.M.S. Majestic, Rudyard Kipling, one of the guests, read "Soldier and Sailor Too", and was encored. He then read "The Flag of England". At the conclusion a body of subalterns swept him off the stage, and chaired him round the quarter-deck, while "For he's a jolly good fellow" was played by the massed bands of the Fleet and sung by 200 officers assembled.

No comments:

Post a Comment