Interpretations on an Interior

Angharad Saunders


This paper explores the relationship between place and page in the context of Arnold Bennett’s (1867-1931) writing practice. Bennett is, perhaps, most famous for being the subject of Virginia Woolf’s critique of Edwardian detailism, which in its tendency to describe characters through a detailed inventory of homes and interiors missed, in Woolf’s view, the vitality of life. Yet Bennett’s literary detailism is intriguing for what it suggests about the role that his own interiors and interiority play in the production of literary outputs. Drawing on the work of Diana Fuss (2004), which urges us to consider the significance of the material spaces of composition to the shaping of intellectual labour, this paper examines how the materiality of Bennett’s interiors, particularly that of his French home Les Néfliers, was a powerful partner in his writing practice. Through an exploration of where Bennett wrote and how his places of writing were arranged and decorated, this paper considers how material design and spatial order were integral agents in Bennett’s literary composition.


literary practice; interior; Arnold Bennett; literary geography

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