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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

Henry Shakespeare Knight, great man, and writer extraordinaire, in a book that never gets dull.

Review soon.

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.

Subtitled 'A Frolic', A Great Man is the lightly comic story of Henry Shakspeare Knight, an innocuous shorthand clerk who becomes a highly successful novelist, despite living a sedentary life with his adoring mother and having no real experience or knowledge of human nature.

The most dramatic inciden

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