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The Grim Smile Of The Five Towns
by Arnold Bennett
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Enoch Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) was a British novelist. He was born in a modest house in Hanley in the Potteries district of Staffordshire. At age 21 he went to London as a solicitor's clerk. He won a literary competition in Tit Bits magazine in 1889 and was encouraged to take up journalism full time. From 1900 he devoted himself full time to writing, giving up the editorship and writing much serious criticism, and also theatre journalism, one of his special interests. In 1902 Anna of the Five Towns, the first of a succession of stories which detailed life in the Potteries, appeared. In 1908 The Old Wives' Tale was published, and was an immediate success throughout the English-speaking world. His most famous works are the Clayhanger (1910) trilogy and The Old Wives' Tale. These books draw on his experience of life in the Potteries, as did most of his best work. Among his other books are: The Grand Babylon Hotel (1902), The Grim Smile of the Five Towns (1907), Hilda Lessways (1911), The Author's Craft (1914), The Lion's Share (1916), and The Roll-Call (1919).
People were talking to each other as they groped about in the road, and either making jokes at the expense of the new Electricity Department, or frankly cursing it with true Five Towns directness of speech. And as Mr Blackshaw went down the hill into the town his heart was as black as the street itself with rage and disappointment. He had made his child cry!
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