Arnold Bennett

Arnold Bennett was a British novelist, playwright, and essayist, best known for his novels set in the Potteries, the industrial region of Staffordshire where he was born. His most famous works include 'The Old Wives' Tale' and the 'Clayhanger' series.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. The Old Wives' Tale

    This novel explores the lives of two sisters, Constance and Sophia Baines, who are brought up in a small town drapery shop in the mid-19th century. Constance remains in their hometown, marries and leads a relatively uneventful life, while Sophia elopes to Paris with a traveling salesman, living through the Siege of Paris and the Franco-Prussian War. The book contrasts the sisters' different experiences and how their choices shape their lives, ultimately reuniting them in their old age.

    The 331st Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Clayhanger

    This novel follows the life of Edwin Clayhanger as he transitions from adolescence to adulthood in the provincial town of the Five Towns, an area inspired by the potteries of Staffordshire, England, where the author grew up. The story delves into Edwin's relationship with his domineering father, Darius Clayhanger, who wants him to continue the family printing business, and his personal aspirations and romantic entanglements, particularly with Hilda Lessways. It explores themes of personal freedom, the constraints of societal expectations, and the pursuit of happiness in the face of familial obligations. The narrative is a detailed portrayal of Victorian middle-class life, capturing the complexities of family dynamics, love, and personal growth.

    The 2926th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Riceyman Steps

    "Riceyman Steps" is a captivating novel that delves into the life of Henry Earlforward, a middle-aged bookseller who becomes obsessed with money and order. Set in early 20th century London, the story follows Henry as he navigates his deteriorating health, complex relationships, and the challenges of running his bookshop. As the narrative unfolds, the reader is drawn into a world of intricate characters and moral dilemmas, exploring themes of greed, love, and the pursuit of happiness.

    The 10628th Greatest Book of All Time