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A Great Man

Arnold Bennett

Book Overview: 

Subtitled 'A Frolic', this light-hearted book follows the fortunes of Henry Shakespeare Knight who, rather to his own surprise, writes a best-selling novel.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Here was a[Pg 67] problem, an apparent contradiction, in Henry's personality.

His aunt, in the passage, and his mother, who had overheard in the dining-room, instantly and correctly solved the problem by saying to themselves that Henry's tone was a Symptom. They had both been collecting symptoms for four days. His mother had first discovered that he had a cold; Aunt Annie went further and found that it was a feverish cold. Aunt Annie saw that his eyes were running; his mother wormed out of him that his throat tickled and his mouth was sore. When Aunt Annie asked him if his eyes ached as well as ran, he could not deny it. On the third day, at breakfast, he shivered, and the two ladies perceived simultaneously the existence of a peculiar rash behind Henry's ears. On the morning of the fourth day Aunt Annie, up early, scored one over her sister by noticing the same rash at the roots of his still curly hair. It was the second rash, together with Henry's emphatic and . . . Read More

Community Reviews

Started excellently, really enjoyed the childhood and young man sections but as soon as he had success as a writer it started to go downhill for me and almost bored ,seemed as if AB was too as he folded it up while characters still only married a few years....
I found Simon Evers an very good narrato

Wry British humour and vintage British fiction.

I liked this rather creaky period piece. Gentle British humour in this story of how success can be a mixed blessing. Wry, subtle and with a very likable though unlikely hero. Atmospheric as one would expect from Bennett though not set in the potteries.

An odd little novel that seems autobiographical. Henry is a successful author who is continually surprised by his popularity and his good fortune. The only time he acts with determination is when he leaves Monte Carlo and Cosette to return to England. The subtitle - A Frolic - is very fitting.

Bennett is practically forgotten nowadays. It seems that only those of his novels that have been televised or films are read, and those not by many. This is the only reason I can find for 'The Card' having to date 38 reviews, and this little gem has none. (Till now). It's very much in the same mould