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The Price of Love by Arnold Bennett
The Price of Love by Arnold Bennett.
With a critical introduction by John Shapcott, Chairman of the Arnold Bennett Society.
Arnold Bennett's penultimate Five Towns novel is a vivid and dramatic portrayal of provincial society about to change forever with the outbreak of World War I. It is a picture of traditional private behaviour and the inevitable march of public progress, whether in commerce, transport or entertainment.
In Rachel Fleckring, Bennett has created another of his strong sympathetic heroines, forced to stamp her authority upon a male dominated world. We also meet the memorable and monstrous Thomas Bathgrew - cinema entrepreneur, local politician and all round dubious character. The redubtable charwoman, Mrs Tams, is both cleaner and conscience. The struggle for respectability and honesty is played out in kitchens, work offices, shops and intriguingly, the cinema.
The introduction makes for a strong case for the book's central critical importance as the first English novel to fully engage with cinema and film.
Cover picture: The End of the Chapter by P. Wilson Steet, OM.
Published by Churnet Valley Books.