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Clayhanger

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By: (1867-1931)

This first of a trilogy of novels is a coming-of-age story set in the Midlands of Victorian England, following Edwin Clayhanger as he leaves school, takes over the family business, and falls in love.
The books are set in Bennett's usual setting of "the 5 Towns", a thinly-disguised version of the six towns of "the Potteries" which amalgamated (at the time of which Bennett was writing) into the borough (and later city) of Stoke-on-Trent.
In one of the earlier chapters in the book, Bennett writes that Edwin had only heard of a philosopher as 'someone who made the best of a bad job' and in some ways that is what Edwin has to do in the book - survive under a stifling layer of conduct imposed by his father, his church and the society he is part of.
(Introduction by Wikipedia, summarised by seasound11)

First Page:

Clayhanger, by Arnold Bennett This book is one of several written by Bennett about life in the Staffordshire Potteries in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The hero is Edwin Clayhanger, and we see him through his childhood, adolescence, early working life, when he was working for his martinet old father, and to the point where he inherits the business, which is printing.

Bennett comes from that area of industrial Britain, and the book rings true on every page. NH

CLAYHANGER

BY ARNOLD BENNETT

VOLUME ONE, CHAPTER ONE.

BOOK ONE HIS VOCATION.

THE LAST OF A SCHOOLBOY.

Edwin Clayhanger stood on the steep sloping, red bricked canal bridge, in the valley between Bursley and its suburb Hillport. In that neighbourhood the Knype and Mersey canal formed the western boundary of the industrialism of the Five Towns. To the east rose pitheads, chimneys, and kilns, tier above tier, dim in their own mists... Continue reading book >>


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