The Wedding Dress by Arnold Bennett
Elsie and the Child - A Tale of Riceyman Steps and Other Stories by Arnold Bennett
Edited with an introduction by John Shapcott, University of Keele.
John Shapcott has also held the position of Chairman of The Arnold Bennett Society.
Arnold Bennetts daughter discovered the manuscript of The Wedding Dress in a drawer at her Paris home in 1984. This lost work is now published for the first time.
Bennett wrote The Wedding Dress in 1921 as a novel, and as a film scenario, for a major Amercian film company, but it never went into production. It is a sparkling tale of the romantic entanglements of four lovers, set admidst a grand country house and its grounds, a departmental stor, hotels and hospital wards in the immediate aftermath of the First World War. Bennett uses all his characteristic wit and inventiveness to tell the tale of how the confused lovers come to realise their true feelings.
Whilst lively and wastly entertaining, The Wedding Dress does not neglect the post-War social scene and some of harsh economic realities of the time.
Along with the publication of of Punch and Judy in 2012, The Wedding Dress adds enormously to the public knowledge of Bennett's involvement with the world of silent cinema.
The Arnold Bennett Society describes The Wedding Dress as:
"The story behind the first publication of Arnold Bennett’s film scenario, and subsequent novel, The Wedding Dress, has its origins quite literally in a romance of the archive. Writing about the fictional portrayal of literary archives in Romance of the Archive in Contemporary British Fiction (2001), Suzanne Keene warns that whilst ‘all romances of the archives have something to say about the proper use of the past…they do not all agree with one another about what happened or what is meant’ and that ‘disagreements about what to do with discoveries are no less contentious’ (P.10) The archival romance that unfolds here, however, is one of undisputed fact, with its fair share of muster some, some basic detective work, and an entirely happy non-contentious outcome."
Cover picture by Sally Richardson.
Published by Churnet Valley Books.