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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, 24 June 2014
When Lewis Hind gave me George Moore's "Evelyn Innes" to review for the Academy I was careful to explain to him my attitude of admiration towards George Moore, and he told me to write exactly what I thought, without considering him. He explicitly gave me carte blanche. For once, therefore, I expressed myself as regards fiction in general and George Moore in particular. I sent in the article 11 days ago. Today Hind writes me that "while fully acknowledging the excellence" of the article, he will not use it, though he will pay for it! The timidity of people in the matter of George Moore's work is almost incredible. My article was indeed an excellent one, and I was intensely annoyed that it should be lost to the public. For the sake of English fiction such articles are sadly needed.
For more on George Moore see 'A man of opinion'
Talking to Webster about sex in fiction last night, I convinced him and myself that no serious attempt had yet been made by a man to present essential femininity; also that the chasm between male and female was infinitely wider and deeper than we commonly realised - in fact an absolutely unpracticable chasm.
A woman might draw, and probably has drawn, woman with justice and accuracy for her own sex. But a woman's portrait of a woman is not of much use to a man. Either it is meaningless to him - a hyeroglyphic - or it tells him only things which he knew. A woman is too close to woman to observe her with aloofness and yet with perfect insight. Observation can only be conducted from the outside. A woman cannot possibly be aware of the things in herself which puzzle us; and our explanations of our difficulties would simply worry her. The two sexes must for ever remain distant, antagonistic, and mutually inexplicable.
Additionally for June 24th., see 'First battlefield'
Thence to Chambry. Many tombs in wheat, and hidden by wheat. Barbed wire on four stout posts (a bird on post), white wooden cross. Always a small white flag. Not always a name. On every side in these fields, the gleam of cross or flag as far as you can see. Scores and scores. Dark green-purple of distant wooded hills against high green of fields.
Cemetery used for firing from. Holes in wall.
Wheat absolutely growing out of a German. The Battlefield is between Barcy and Chambry. Barcy is high; Chambry is low, like Meaux. Round through battlefield German army was going south-east, and chiefly east.
General impression. How little is left. How cultivation and civilisation have covered the disaster over.