To Arnold Bennet (1867-1931) by Frank Swinnerton

In his fine appreciation of what Staffordshire stands for in relation to Great Britain as a whole, particularly since the coming of the industrial era towards the end of the eighteenth century, Mr. Swinnerton says truly that her men are 'respected as craftsmen all over the world'. The remark applies as truly to Arnold Bennett as, for instance, to the master-potter, Josiah Wedgwood. Bennett was a craftsman first, last, and all the time. He was recognized as such in his lifetime, and he left a body of work behind him, some of which has qualities of permanence.

No one is better qualified than Mr. Swinnerton to write of Bennett. He knew him intimately over many years, admired him keenly but not uncritically, and brings to his present assessment wide experience of letters, and great acumen. No one has yet written better about Bennett, and his essay will stimulate the ever-continuing process of re-estimating a man who in his own lifetime (1867-1931) commanded as much attention as any contemporary.

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